Ben Bennani, owner of AA Car Rental in Costa Mesa, Calif., is loaning his 2002 Mercedes 300SE sedan to two women who have been homeless for more than a month, The Orange County Register reports.
Both former homeowners with families and jobs, Debbie, who did not want her last name used, and Donna Tangeman have been homeless for more than a month due to health problems and the resulting financial setbacks. Tangeman uses a wheelchair, her legs in near-constant pain from a debilitating bone disease.
Debbie is Tangeman's friend and caretaker. The women pay $70 a day to share a motel room but need to find something cheaper, according to The Orange County Register.
In February, Tangeman needed to rent a car for a move and to visit doctors for two hip-replacement surgeries, but with no credit card or job, many rental agencies turned her away.
Bennani rented a Toyota Sienna minivan to Tangeman for three weeks and she returned it in good condition, paying the $791.96 bill in cash (the money came from donations at her church and her disability checks).
In November, she needed to rent a car again so she and Debbie could look at a room in adjacent Riverside County. They went back to AA, and Bennani leased them a Hyundai Accent at a special rate of $24 a day because Tangeman was a previous customer.
The room turned out to be too small for the women and their pets. When they returned the car the next day, Bennani overheard them telling an employee they were homeless, so he lent them his 2002 Mercedes for free until they find a place to live.
In the meantime, Bennani is driving one of his rental cars. Bennani has owned his car-rental business for about three years and says he's just trying to be generous as the holiday season nears.