Internet pokes fun at woman’s door-less van, stranger steps up to fix it for free

Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-31 22:18:41-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- A Muskegon woman has received help from a stranger after being subject to internet bullying when a picture of her damaged van received a lot of reaction on Facebook.

The van was completely missing the driver’s side door, but the mother of five said that she had no choice other than to continue driving it.

Several people made jokes and created memes on social media with the picture.

However, someone saw all the mean comments about the woman and stepped up to fix the van for free.

The van has been damaged for more than a year. The family said that they simply couldn’t afford to replace the door following an accident.

Devin Beeman doesn’t own the van, but was driving it when the popular picture was taken, showing up on Facebook.

"I just look over, and they were taking pictures," said Devin Beeman. "So, I'm like, 'Okay well, that's fine.' But then I get home, and they were posted on Facebook."

The van actually belongs to Amanda Maxfield, a mother of five.

"He tried everything with a door, and we just couldn't get it," said Maxfield of her fiance's efforts to fix the problem. "So, we just had to drive without the door."

For more than a year, people have been recording video and taking pictures of Maxfield as she drove her doorless van in Muskegon, she said. After dozens of comments were posted on Facebook poking fun at her misfortune, a different type of post appeared.

James Barber said in a post that he wanted to help.

"You don't beat somebody when they are down on the ground like that, " said Barber. "Instead, when someone is down like that, instead of looking down on them, you know, try to help them out."

Following the passing of Barber’s mother last month, he has been inspired to help out others in her memory, he said.

"Of course, the public comments were insults and being mean, and I got on there an offered to help," said Barber.

"A co-worker said get a hold of him, he's willing to help you," said Maxfield. "I got a hold of him, and, everything he offered, I just cried

This past Saturday, the pair met up, and the door was replaced.

"She is now riding around with a door on her vehicle and no more public humiliation," said Barber.

"I could not believe that somebody out of the kindness of their heart would help someone like that they don't even know," said Maxfield.

With the door replaced, she hopes to be able to help someone else the way Barber stepped up for her. "I actually can't wait to pay it forward. I can't wait to help somebody like he has helped."

"There is people out there that are doing good deeds," said Barber. "Not just me, but other people, and hopefully this influences somebody out there to do the same."

Maxfield hopes that, with the van repaired, her children won’t be subject to negative comments from the public, which she said that have been humiliating for them.