The Rev. Eric Johns is back on the road again, thanks to an outpouring of generosity.
After living six days on the streets with the homeless, the pastor of the Buffalo Dream Center returned to his West Side home and discovered Sunday morning that every tire on his two vans had been slashed.
The vans, which belong to the Buffalo Dream Center, are used to transport people to church services and drive to an Amherst warehouse where volunteers wrap Christmas gifts and package food for the Boxes of Love campaign for the needy.
After news of the vandalism spread, more than 20 mechanics, repair shops and residents offered to fix his flattened tires.
Monday, mechanics at Mr. Fox Tire, 1035 William St., placed eight fresh new tires on his vans -- free of charge.
"Something terrible happened, and it actually turned into something great," Johns said. "The people of Western New York are just tremendously generous."
Johns said the two vans were parked on the street in front of his home in the Grant-Ferry neighborhood. Johns suspects the church vans were targeted because no other vehicles on the street had been vandalized.
When workers at Buffalo City Mission's Mission Motors and Curtiss Auto & Truck Repair in Cheektowaga learned about the vandalism, they arranged for Spankey Anderson Towing in Tonawanda to take the vans to Mr. Fox Tire.
Eric Fox, the tire store owner, absorbed the $650 cost of replacing the tires and the free labor.
"It was the easiest decision I made all day," said Fox. "Here's a guy who's in the community helping kids. We had to get him up and running."