“The very definition of love is an intense feeling of deep affection. Love comes in many forms, and I want to share an unlikely love story that captured my heart.
Meet the Feltons. Their daughter Lily is on the autism spectrum, and I met this amazing family through our elementary school and my work with Pathfinders for Autism, a Maryland-based non-profit. A little over 2 years ago, Lily received a dog that the family began training as a service dog for her. Picking a name for her dog was easy. Lily loves Teslas. She knows every make and model and dreams of owning one someday. Naturally, her new dog was given the name Tesla. I will never forget the day I drove my Tesla Model S to our elementary school car line and Lily’s mom told me it was her daughter’s dream car. I recall telling her that I promise one day she could ride in it. Little did I know that that promise would indeed be fulfilled.
Fast forward two years and Tesla has won the hearts of the entire Felton family. She wasn’t just giving Lily guidance but teaching the family what it means to love a dog. And if you are like me, a dog-obsessed lifer, you know how much this can change your life.
This is where our love story gets deeper. Tesla was diagnosed with cancer 6 months ago; I have been following Tesla’s journey via social media and praying for her quick recovery. Just a few weeks ago, the Felton family found out that due to the nature of cancer, Tesla now has only a few weeks to a few months to live. The Feltons are preparing to say goodbye to their puppy. My heart was breaking for the family.
That is when I read mom’s social media post. Lily had created a bucket list for Tesla, with a list of items she and her companion would like to do while they are still together. The list includes a road trip, walking on the beach, ice cream, swimming, and much more. But the biggest bucket list item was giving Tesla the honor of riding in a real Tesla, the inspiration behind her name.
When Matt Felton called me to ask a unique favor of his dog getting a ride in my Tesla, I did not hesitate. The word YES burst from my mouth as tears rolled down my face. I told him how I had made that promise to Lily over 2 years ago and how much I know this will mean to both Lily and her pup. We laughed at how this is not something that you ever think you will be doing for someone, but I had never been more excited to lend out my car to make a teenager’s dream come true.
We made arrangements for a Sunday drive and gave Tesla and Lily their dream. Lily shared all that she knows about the Tesla brand, while we showed her all the cool features of our Model S, including, of course, the ‘frunk,’ in which she and Tesla had to take a photo! Lily’s sister was equally as excited and humble. She continued to thank us for giving her sister this gift. When I asked her if she wanted a chance in the driver’s seat, she politely declined, claiming, ‘This is Lily’s moment, she has the driver’s seat.’
I wanted to share this story of the deepest affection and definition of love. There are so many lessons to be learned here. This was seemingly a small act of kindness on my part, but, little did the Feltons know, they were doing me the favor. You see, I LOVE being able to bring joy, and I live for making others happy. So if spending 2 hours on a Sunday driving a puppy and her sisters around in my Tesla is what I needed to do, I was ALL IN.
It’s funny. Tesla the dog and my Tesla car are more similar than you might think. First, both are white. Second, both can go 0 to 60 MPH in less than 30 seconds! Third, both have the nickname ‘Tessie.’ Finally, and most important, both are supercharged with owners that know what it means to love and be loved.
Tesla and Lily got their dream of ‘Tesla riding in a Tesla.’ I couldn’t think of a greater love story!”
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