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. (Andrew Gaetz 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. (Andrew Gaetz photo)

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

Sooke area Facebook group hunted far and wide before locating 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.”

RELATED: Stolen gnomes returned to Langford woman with apology note

RELATED: Victoria man’s stolen bike pedals full circle

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.

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.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


 

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

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

JeepSooke

 

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. (Andrew Gaetz 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. (Andrew Gaetz photo)

Just Posted

Island Health’s acting medical health officer for the central Island says schools are very safe, even after COVID-19 exposure at five schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith this month. (File photo)
Island Health: Vancouver Island schools are ‘very safe’

Central Island medical health officer answers questions on the heels of recent school exposures

A photograph from July 25, where the Straitwatch team and DFO were out along the eastern shoreline of Vancouver Island to attend to a humpback whale that was reported entangled . (Photo courtesy, Cetus Research and Conservation Society)
Islander launches campaign to help entangled whales

Tristan Ray-Wilks from Quadra Island wants to be “response ready” for humpbacks in distress

In the first nine months of 2020, there have been 23 drug toxicity deaths in North Vancouver Island. Pixabay photo
Vancouver Island’s drug overdose emergency far from over

COVID-19 has exacerbated drug toxicity death rate

Bert Hick of Rising Tide Consultants, specializing in liquor licensing, addresses city council on Nov. 19, 2019. (City of Chilliwack)
Opinion: Your council has a tougher job than you give it credit for

Councillors work hard and for a capricious master

B.C. Special Olympics athlete, Jake Hooper, and his sister Caitlin are concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on people with intellectual disabilities. (Courtesy of Caitlin Hooper)
Pandemic raises stakes for B.C. residents with intellectual disabilities

Untrained health care workers can jeopardize lives of people with ID

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

This Union Bay beach area shows iron staining at low tide from March 2010. Photo, JET Productions
Commercial marina again proposed for Union Bay

A previous proposal was denied due to sediment contamination

A rendering of Victoria Wonderland, a drive-thru immersive holiday experience coming to the Breakwater District at Ogden Point. (Courtesy of Transcend Victoria)
Immersive, drive-thru holiday light show coming to Victoria

‘Victoria Wonderland’ runs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 31

Juliette Desvaux, left, and gym owner Meaghan Orcutt share a joke during a break in a workout session. (Submitted photo)
Parksville sprinter finds much-needed community support during COVID-19 pandemic

Local gym, former coaches lend a hand with Desvaux’s athletic endeavours

I-Hos Gallery manager Ramona Johnson shows some of the paddles available at the retail outlet. Photo by Terry Farrell
I-Hos Gallery celebrates 25 years of promoting First Nation artwork

K’ómoks First Nation-based outlet has art from all over the country

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Most Read