Vandals of car dealership catch a break

In mid-October, someone vandalized cars at a Subaru dealership in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The someone turned out to be two kids — 14 and 10. The damage totaled more than $25,000, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader says.

“He (the 14-year-old boy) was very embarrassed and sad that he had done that,” dealership owner Mike Schulte said.

Neither of the families of the boys could afford the restitution.

So the dealer went in a different direction.

The 14-year-old boy and his mother were living in less-than-ideal conditions and lacked some basic resources, Schulte said. In fact, the teen was walking three miles to school and back every day because he did not have another way to get there.

“It was just heartbreaking,” Schulte said.

Neither the boy nor his mother wanted to be identified, Schulte said.

The staff decided to assist the boy and his mother, helping them to procure a better place to live. They also helped the boy get a bus pass and bike to get to school, Schulte said.

In return, the boy offered to assist at Schulte Subaru after school and on weekends, emptying trash bins and doing other chores, Schulte said.

“He actually asked … if he could come down and help us out,” he said.

Since the dealership began helping the teen, Schulte said he seemed like a different person from the boy caught vandalizing cars on video.

“You wouldn’t know it’s the same kid,” Schulte said. “You can just see the difference.”

The dealership plans to assist the boy until he graduates from high school in hopes that he continues to make good choices.

“This is the moment where the kid looks back and says, ‘This is when someone cared about me,'” Schulte said.