Company to fix man's car after vandalism - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Company to fix man's car after vandalism

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CRANSTON, R.I. -

Carlos Alves said he was appalled when he saw what happened to Henry Walther's car, a story that aired on NBC 10.

Someone scratched a gay slur into the side of his car.

"It's because of things like this that people become aware. Some people need a slap in the head to wake up," said Alves, who manages Gershkoff Auto Body in Cranston.

Alves's wife sent NBC 10 an email and the station forwarded it to Walther. It was one of dozens.

"It's an eye opener. I never thought it my wildest dreams when I agreed to speak to (NBC 10), someone would reach out to me, and try to help me. There's lots of people who did and I'm very thankful," Walther said.

Walther said he was harassed as a teen for being gay. He said back then his school and police did nothing to help.

"When things like this happen, it feels like it was done to me," Alves said.

Alves said his daughter is gay, and he and his wife helped in the efforts to pass Rhode Island's marriage equality bill this year.

So Alves convinced the owner of Gershkoff Auto Body to fix Walther's car, a Pontiac Sunfire, for free.

"The damage on the car is not a lot of damage. It's not a big deal. But for someone like him, it is," Alves said.

Alves said a new paint job could cost more than $1,000.

He said workers were going to take off door handles, side mirrors and other items so they can repaint Walther's car.

Alves said they'll erase the slur by sanding it down to bare metal. Then they'll prime it, sand it again and finally paint it.

The hateful word will disappear but not the hate that led to the damage.

"I hope when people see the follow-up story, they see there may be a lot of evil in the world, but there's a lot of good in the world," Walther said.

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