MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) = An inspector with the Department of Health and Environmental Control Michael Harter's Lincoln Town Car was parked outside of the Bermuda Sands hotel in Myrtle Beach Saturday night.
On his way out Sunday morning to collect shells on the beach, Harter noticed something was missing. "I was just devastated when I went out there and my car was gone," Harter said.
Harter then broke the news to his wife, Ann. "Somebody stole the car. But she thought I was joking," said Harter. But, Harter wasn't joking and the harsh reality set in for the two of them. The car was gone and so was all of the food for their Christmas dinner and presents they bought for their six year old granddaughter.
"She was hysterical you know," Harter said of Ann's reaction.
Harter is doing everything he can to keep Ann's spirits lifted. She suffers from spinal meningitis, a condition that has lowered her mental capacity to think and act like a 15-year-old. Harter says it's why they've traveled to Myrtle Beach from Columbia, South Carolina for the last six years to spend the Christmas holiday with their family.
Ann's sister Rita Bass arrived in town this morning. "It just hurt me and broke my heart, to know that someone could do that at Christmas time," Bass said.
No car, no gifts, no food and stuck inside a motel, the Harter's Christmas was looking grim. But then in comes Ron from Murrells Inlet. He heard about their unfortunate story. "I just felt bad for them," Ron said. He says he just had to do something for the Harters so he tracked them down.
"He says 'how about if I cook dinner for you and your wife?' Well I got three more people. He said 'well that would be fine," recalls Harter.
Ron says he wants them to still enjoy the holiday and is looking forward to opening his home to Michael, Ann and their family.
"If I was in need I hope that someone would help me. At Christmas time everybody is friends, it just has that meaning to bring everyone together."
Michael Harter says he and Ann are grateful for this unexpected and special Christmas gift.