Shelia Banner, a single mom in Iredell County, North Carolina, was thrown into a difficult financial situation when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Like so many others, she lost her job. After weeks of waiting for unemployment benefits and the government-promised stimulus check, she had received no such financial assistance.
Banner and her children were evicted from their home.
When the local Charlotte news media caught wind of Banner’s story, the WCNC Charlotte Defenders reached out to her to get to the bottom of why she didn’t receive the assistance she was promised. In an interview with WCNC, Banner explained what happened when she called the IRS to inquire about her stimulus check.
“They told me I was the victim of identity theft,” she said. “I just wish they hadn’t told me I was getting it if I wasn’t going to.”
After watching a Sunday night football game, Robert Mueller, vice president of sales at Streetside Classics, tuned into the local news and saw WCNC’s story about Banner.
“The more I started hearing about Sheila’s story, it seemed like it was one thing after another that happened to her this year,” Mueller told WCNC.
Streetside Classic’s business has been doing exceptionally well despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mueller knew. Heartbroken by Banner’s story, he took the opportunity to give back to the community.
“The message since Covid started is we’re all in this together,” Mueller said. “So sometimes it’s one thing to say that, and it’s another time to take action and do something,”
Mueller and Streetside Classic’s chief executive and president Donna Robbins decided to match the amount of Banner’s missing stimulus check.
Mueller found Banner’s profile on Facebook and sent her a message offering help. Banner was skeptical; she thought it was a tricky sales tactic to get her to purchase a classic car. But that was not the case, so Banner gave Mueller her address. She was shocked when a check appeared in her mailbox.
“I got it cashed at the bank, and it was real,” Banner said. “I just didn’t realize anybody would help at all, and that just really surprised me.”
Banner, who moved into a friend’s house with her two children for the time being, plans to use the money to save up for a home for her family.
“It’s pretty awesome,” she said. “I was really struggling, and now I feel like I have a little of bit of breathing room.”