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Human Interest

83-Year-Old Man Who Walked Miles to Mow His Customers' Lawns Is Surprised with New Truck

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John Joyce had a tough time holding back tears Monday afternoon at a used car dealership in Pinellas Park, Florida, as his friend and longtime customer handed him the keys to his new truck.

“It was wonderful, really wonderful,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively of his 2004 Nissan truck.

Joyce, 83, has spent the last few months walking several miles a day to his customers’ homes to mow their lawns after the transmission died in his 1994 truck.

Longtime customer Robert Norton and his wife Nikki Norton created a GoFundMe account hoping to help Joyce.

They were stunned when people donated more than $13,000 in just a few weeks and they were able to give him the new ride.

From left: Nikki Norton, Robert Norton and John Joyce
“He was amazed too, he couldn’t believe it. He looked like he was ready to start crying, and then I started crying,” Robert says.

A used car dealer sold them the truck at cost, leaving money left over to pay for the insurance, plates and to get Joyce a Home Depot gift certificate for a new lawnmower.

“It was super exhilarating to do a good thing for such a good man. I’m at a loss of words. I’ve been through a whirlwind of ups and downs the last few weeks and it’s nice to culminate on a feel good moment,” Robert added.

Robert lost his mom just a few days before his wedding last week. He and his new wife, Nikki, got back from their honeymoon Saturday and made all the arrangements for Joyce’s truck the next day, handing him the keys less than 48 hours after returning home.

“People’s needs don’t arise when it’s convenient for you, they arise when they have needs. John’s needs didn’t come at a convenient time, but we needed to help him. I didn’t want him to have to wait,” he says.

Sure enough, Joyce didn’t wait to get back to work. He drove off the lot with plans to get right back to mowing lawns.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he says. “There couldn’t be anything better.”