BMW’s April Fool Joke that wasn’t has had a happy outcome, and not just for the winner of its car, but for two disabled children.
The April 1 ad on the Herald’s front page promised the first reader at a specific dealer to ask for Tom would swap their old vehicle for a new BMW. Most readers assumed the ad was a joke, but brave Tianna Marsh took a punt, turned up as the dealership opened with the advertisement in hand, and drove away with a new BMW 1 Series worth almost $50,000, leaving behind her 15-year-old Nissan Avenir wagon.
But the story doesn’t end there. BMW decided to pass on the good fortune. It listed the Nissan on Trade Me, got a WoF for the car and sold it for $2050, every cent of which has gone to Gobabygo.
The small volunteer-run charity adapts electric ride-in BMW toy cars for mobility-impaired children, applying harnesses and head or hand throttles and other adaptations to suit each disabled child. GBG CEO Gilli Sinclair says being independently mobile has many benefits for a small child, not least social. “They go from relying on bulky equipment or an adult for mobility, which isolates them from other kids, to being the cool child in the playground, and at last they can keep up with siblings on scooters when families go for a stroll. There are potential therapy benefits too, we have a child with cerebral palsy whose car helps him stretch his hamstrings, and others learning better head and neck control to manage the throttle.”
BMW’s April Fool auction has already benefitted two Auckland children, who received their car at the Muscular Dystrophy conference, the $2050 covering Zach’s car and contributing to Hazel’s. The children, both two-and-a-half, will at last be able to experiment with independent mobility thanks to BMW’s innovative April 1 campaign.