One minute Erin Byrnes had won a brand-new Chevrolet Tahoe worth $70,000. The next, it was gone — exactly as she had planned.
It all happened Sept. 24 at a fundraising raffle in Syracuse, New York, for Joseph’s House, a Catholic nonprofit home for mothers and their babies, where Erin, an eighth-grader at West Genesee Middle school, is a volunteer.
Erin had bought 60 raffle tickets with $200 she had raised recycling cans and bottles over the last two year.
“We were in the audience and I was helping out with the babies and moms, and as soon as I heard the name Byrnes, I just started freaking out and my parents freaked out and my dad lifted me into the air,” Erin tells WSYR radio.
“And then I went up, and the guy asked me what was I going to do with the car,” she says. “He said, ‘What’s a little girl like you going to do with a 2015 Chevy Tahoe?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’m going to donate it back.'”
Just like that, the Chevy now belonged to Joseph’s House.
Then it was time for the audience to start freaking out. “They were really shocked,” she said.
The next day, it was the talk among her friends at school.
“They just said, ‘Why did you give it away?'” recalls Erin, “and I said, ‘Well, if you saw those babies, you’d give it away too.'”
Hear Erin’s interview with WSYR radio: