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West Side single mother gifted car after hers was stolen last year

Iashiskala Sims, 40, of Humboldt Park, received a Saturn Ion Sunday from Early Walker, owner of W&W Towing.

Iashiskala Sims, right, received a free Saturn Ion Sunday from Early Walker, a Chicago philanthropist and owner of W&W Towing. Sims, 40, of Humboldt Park, thought she was being interviewed as a finalist before being surprised with the car’s delivery outside Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago in South Chicago on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.
Clare Proctor/Sun-Times

When Iashiskala Sims got out of an Uber at Sweet Holy Spirit Church of Chicago in South Chicago Sunday morning, she thought she was one of four finalists being interviewed to receive a free car.

There were no other finalists.

Sims, 40, drove away with three of her children in a gray Saturn Ion, a gift from Early Walker, a Chicago philanthropist and owner of W&W Towing. Walker surprised the mother of four with the car outside the South Side church Sunday, after he was touched by a letter Sims wrote to him.

Sims’ previous car had been stolen from outside her apartment in Humboldt Park a year ago, and the stress of not having a car contributed to a miscarriage Sims suffered around the same time, she wrote in the letter.

“I was behind on my lights and gas, living from paycheck to paycheck,” Sims said Sunday. “It’s been really tight.”

A single mother, Sims and her children resorted to ride shares and catching rides with neighbors and friends, she said. The extra expense of not having a car pushed the family’s budget to the brink, she said, to the point where she had to spend money on transportation instead of buying her children Christmas presents.

When she opened the trunk of the Saturn Ion Sunday, she saw individually wrapped presents for each of her children. And for her daughter Iaysiah Sims-Green, 17, a high school senior who’s been accepted to Illinois State University, Walker gave her a new laptop. Walker and the Vrdolyak Law Group are partnering to financially support Sims-Green’s education.

Walker decided to do a car giveaway in the wake of recent carjackings and car theft in Chicago, he said. Sims clearly stood out as an “ideal candidate,” he said.

“She’s been through it all, and she’s still getting up every day,” Walker said. “She still got motivation. She’s still being a mom.”

Sims said she applied to Walker’s car giveaway contest at the last minute and was thankful to have been included. Having a car will transform how her family operates, she said.

Previously hesitant to let other people drive her children, the new car will give her children more freedom to go places, she said.

“They’re happy,” Sims said, looking at her three children piled into her new car. “We’re happy.”