Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Brian Hewitt photo)

Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Brian Hewitt photo)

Sooke girl left speechless after Island off-road community replaces stolen toy Jeep

Facebook group located new toy in Vernon, BC

It was anything but a calm Saturday for Elianna Tory when she heard loud honking outside her Sooke home.

She couldn’t believe her eyes when she opened the front door – there, at the end of her family’s driveway, was a brand new red toy Jeep.

Two weeks before, the five-year-old was in tears after her toy Jeep was stolen after her parents left it outside overnight. Though they had owned the used toy for two years, this was one of the few times the family forgot to bring it into the garage – a seemingly innocent mistake with the worst outcome.

“When we realized it was gone, Elianna was crushed, but she had an idea,” said mom Hailey Tory.

“We posted a video to Facebook asking for people to keep on the lookout for it, and within hours we were getting so many shares and requests to donate funds for a new one.”

Shortly after, Hailey received a call from Brian Hewitt, a Jeep enthusiast who runs 642 Jeeps, which brings together off-road vehicle enthusiasts in and around Sooke.

Within an hour of sharing the video on his page, the group raised more than $550, enough money to buy Elianna a new Jeep.

“I couldn’t get a word in because I was getting emotional from his kindness and generosity,” Tory said.

The duo agreed to keep it a secret until the Jeep showed up at their door, and Hewitt began searching for the prized possession – a task that proved easier said than done.

READ MORE: Dog reunited with Sooke man after being claimed by stranger the night before

Hewitt called all the Walmart’s on the Island and various big box stores but to no avail. No one had a toy Jeep in stock. That is until he remembered he had spotted one at a car dealership earlier. He reached out to a friend at Duncan Dodge, who located a red Jeep in pristine condition in Vernon, an eight-hour drive away.

Luckily, he was able to arrange a Vernon Lordco store to cover the costs to bring the Jeep to the Island, just in time to surprise Elianna a day after her family had arrived back home from a trip to Alberta.

“The look on her face was priceless,” said Hewitt. “I’ve got kids too, and I know how much it means to be able to surprise them. My little guy has one himself, and I can only imagine how much she loves it too. It had to be done, no question about it.”

Hewitt and several off-roaders from the Facebook group met in downtown Sooke on Oct. 17 before delivering the gift with a convoy. They were accompanied by Emcon Services Inc., who led an escort with a few of their trucks.

“She was speechless,” said Tory. “At that moment, I was on the brink of crying. It was like a movie moment where you have to take a deep breath to compose yourself. She was speechless, and that’s coming from someone who never stops talking.”

Hewitt pointed out the red toy Jeep came outfitted with lights and suspension that dances to the music’s beat.

He said Elianna is now part of the Jeep family – one that he said will never leave her without a friend or a helping hand once she starts driving. Until then, the five-year-old is keeping a close eye on her beloved new toy.

ALSO READ: Stolen gnomes returned to Langford woman with apology note


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

JeepSooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Brian Hewitt photo)

Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Brian Hewitt photo)

Just Posted

Island Health has confirmed the first long term care facility outbreak in Greater Victoria at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Google Maps)
Island Health records first long-term care COVID outbreak in Greater Victoria

Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich confirms one positive staff member

Itty, a Siamese cat, has been missing since a house fire in Victoria’s Fernwood neighbourhood on Friday, Nov. 27. Her owner says she has white fur with blonde and grey markings. (Facebook/ROAM)
Cat goes missing after house fire in Fernwood neighbourhood

‘Itty’ has white fur, blonde and grey markings and blue eyes

The Saanich Fire Department Station #2 C-Battalion members (left to right) firefighter Clayton Tilon, firefighter Bonnie Fiala, firefighter Zay Hamilton, Capt. Dawrin Schellenberg and firefighter Charlie Rivers show off their BC Emergency Health Servicecs Vital Link Award. (Photo courtesy Darwin Schellenberg)
Saanich firefighters receive Vital Link Award from paramedics for life-saving CPR

Award issued to C-Battalion, civilian for help saving cardiac arrest patient in June

An aerial view over Oak Bay. (Black Press Media File Photo)
An aerial view over Oak Bay and the Marina. Oak Bay residents pay the highest taxes on Vancouver Island. Don Denton/Black Press
Oak Bay secondary suites study considers units old and new

Secondary suites draft report due in new year

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read