Alpharetta Publix employee gives co-worker his car

Zerubabbel Yisrael no longer has to walk an hour to work or call for an Uber

When Adam Speiler went to trade in his 2004 Toyota Camry Solara, he was told it was worth $1,500. To his co-worker Zerubabbel “Z” Yisrael, however, the car is priceless.

Yisrael had been saving to buy a car, but between paying rent and other bills, his coffer wasn’t filling very quickly. He would call an Uber to take him to and from work — which could cost nearly $25 on a busy Saturday night. When he had no money for an Uber, Yisrael would just walk the nearly 4 miles to Store 556.

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Credit: Zerubabbel Yisrael

Credit: Zerubabbel Yisrael

“I didn’t really mind walking to work,” Yisrael said. “I come to work an hour early. I was taught to be an hour early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is to be fired.”

Speiler and Yisrael worked together at the Alpharetta Publix on Haynes Bridge Road. Although Speiler was the deli manager, he sometimes had to work the late shift and close up the store. That’s how he got to know Yisrael, a team leader in the grocery department.

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“As manager in charge, I would wait with anyone who was waiting for a ride,” Speiler said. Since grocery is the largest department, that usually meant waiting with Yisrael.

They knew each other just by association, but it was during Speiler’s shifts as manager in charge that he learned about Yisrael’s situation.

“I had always lived paycheck to paycheck. We talked about that one night,” Speiler said. “After the longest time, I was finally able to afford a new car.”

Speiler was talking to the store manager about giving his old car to somebody who needed it “so they wouldn’t have to wait until they’re 33 to afford one,” he said. They had a few people in mind, but then Speiler saw Yisreal.

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“It was like an aha moment when I saw Z coming around the corner,” he said.

“The thing about Z,” Speiler continued, “is he is one of the hardest workers in the store. So it was kinda nice to actually help someone that actually works their butt off and tries to do the best thing for Publix. So I feel he truly earned it.”

Yisrael’s work ethic comes from his dad and from being in the National Guard.

“Every day I come to work, I just do me,” he said.

Yisrael said his dad always told him: “Be busy. Always be doing something, whether it’s sweeping the floor or taking out the trash. Don’t just do nothing.”

But Yisrael said he never expected his hard work to pay off this way.

“I was ecstatic. I said, ‘Whoa ... you’re giving me a car for free?' " he said.

Speiler added: “To me, it wasn’t necessarily about doing something nice. He truly has earned it.”