Imagine her surprise when Alicia Day’s father handed her the phone. It was Tyler Perry calling, and he wanted to replace her stolen van.
“God is good, and Tyler Perry is just wonderful,” Day told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.
The Atlanta movie mogul had heard a Channel 2 Action News report Monday evening about the theft of Day’s customized Chrysler minivan out of the driveway of her Decatur home Sunday.
The 24-year-old woman, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, would be lost without the van, her sole transportation to her part-time job as a greeter at Home Depot on Ponce de Leon Avenue. But about two hours after the story aired, Alicia had a new van, compliments of Perry.
“It’s unbelievable, it happened so fast,” said Alicia’s dad Cecil, who answered the phone around 5 p.m. Monday. “He said, ‘This is Tyler Perry,’ and I said, ‘Who?’ and he said Tyler Perry. He asked to speak to Alicia.”
Perry told Alicia Day he wanted to replace her van that same day.
“This made me feel so wonderful,” she said. “Tyler Perry, of all people, decided to help a handicapped person.”
Perry then drove to R & R Mobility Van & Lifts Inc. in Conyers, where the Days had bought the stolen van 12 years ago. The dealership was closed, but Perry convinced the manager to open back up. It probably didn’t take much convincing. The van cost nearly $60,000.
“I’d never seen anything like this,” said salesman Michael Bortvit. “I had left for the day. I turned around and came back and met with Mr. Perry, who drove up alone in his Land Rover.”
Alicia’s parents, Cecil and Hannelore Day, showed up shortly thereafter, was shown a selection of vans and chose a silver customized 2011 Volkswagen Amerivan.
“It was a humongous gesture of generosity,” Bortvit said. “And it was obvious that not only was he not seeking recognition, he was going out of his way to avoid it.”
Perry has a fan for life in Alicia Day. “I was a big fan of his even before this,” said Day, who said her favorite Tyler Perry movie is, “Why Did I Get Married?”
Meanwhile, her colleagues at Home Depot had begun a fund to help Alicia Day before Perry stepped in. They and company officials plan to present her with a check for $5,000 for her medical expenses on Friday.
Efforts to contact Perry were unsuccessful.