PORTLAND, Texas — Janet Spain has worked at the Popeye’s in Portland for around a year. She started as a part-time employee, but recently moved to full-time.
“Her spirit is really great,” said Electra Riley, a Portland resident and Popeye’s customer. “We love great customer service, and that’s what she provides every time you come to the window; a smile, a greeting.”
For the last four years, Spain has been without a car. She’s walked to her various part-time jobs, including about a mile to Popeye’s, where she is the shift manager, and spends a majority of her shift on her feet.
“It’s very exhausting,” she said.
Electra Riley, her husband Richard, and their five-year-old son Khairi moved to Portland in 2020. Every time they’ve visited Popeye’s, their relationship with Spain would grow.
“Just coming up here periodically, just her spirit, and knowing her, talking to her everyday, she’s a very nice lady,” Richard Riley said. “I found out she was in need of a vehicle, she didn’t have the means to get it, so me and my wife decided to get her a vehicle.”
After talking about it for a while, the Rileys decided to purchase a car for Spain, so she could get to and from work, and get whatever she needed to get done, more easily.
They gave her the car at the restaurant last week.
“I kept wondering why all the employees, everyone for both shifts, why was everyone here?” Spain said.
Khairi walked up to Spain with a bag; in it, a card and the keys to her new car.
“I read the card, and I thought, ‘oh that card is the sweetest card,’ and then they said, ‘no, there’s something else down in the bag too.’” Spain said. “It took a few seconds for it to kind of click, and then I realized, ‘here’s car keys, everybody’s here,’ and then I realized. It’s just indescribable, the joy.”
“It was amazing. It melted my heart,” Richard Riley said about seeing Spain’s reaction.
The car is going to make Spain’s life much easier.
“I can actually go to the grocery store now, I don’t have to order through Favor or DoorDash, or walk all the way in the hot sun or the cold weather,” she said. “It means everything, it really does. It means so much.”
Spain said she has prayed to God for a vehicle, and He answered her prayers.
“We moved out here for work, this is where God led us, I just let him speak through us,” Richard Riley said.
Spain she can’t thank the Rileys enough for their gift.
“They are awesome, awesome people, and I only met them through here,” Spain. “I’m just so grateful, so thankful.”