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Personal trainer from Melbourne donates $15,000 car to Lismore flood survivor

A 36-year-old Melbourne man has decided to pay it forward and give his car to a stranger whose northern New South Wales home was hit by floodwaters last year.  

Michael Smith said he knew what it was like to have your world turned upside down after starting a personal training business in Melbourne shortly before the pandemic hit.

"I just wanted to help out and pay it forward," he said.

"I was going to give it away to someone who had fallen through the gaps because of COVID, then the Lismore floods hit and I headed in that direction."

Mr Smith and his father drove more than 1,500 kilometres from Melbourne to Lismore to deliver the car to a flood-affected resident organised by community-based group, Resilient Lismore.

"I'm glad they thought I was a real person and not a scam," he said.

The personal trainer said it was an emotional experience handing over the keys to the recipient.

"Just seeing what it meant to them was amazing. I'm a bit emotional talking about it," Mr Smith said.

"Just seeing how much that meant to that person is something that will stay close to me forever."

Group welcomes generosity 

Resilient Lismore executive director Elly Bird said Michael contacted the organisation to help find the right person.

"We were able to connect him to a very deserving young woman in the community who was in need for a vehicle," she said.

"We know regaining independence through a car will make a difference to their lives and help them get back on track."

Mr Smith, who has a background in youth work and residential care, said anybody could make a difference.

"People just need compassion, support and love," he said.

"It doesn't have to be a $15,000 car. It can be just walking beside somebody sometimes."

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