When Nashville's 4Wheel Parts was looking for a young man with a truck in need of a makeover, they made contact with Judy King, director of Camp Phoenix.
King immediately thought of Justin Hardy, who had been attending the camp since he was age 9. From there, the conspiracy to keep the makeover a secret began.
The slight knocking sound coming from Justin's 1986 Chevrolet C10 pickup took on a sudden urgency. His father Brad Handy had him bring it to Cascade Collision in Wartrace where he works as a mechanic on the pretense of putting in a new motor.
Instead, the truck was driven to the 4Wheel Parts shop on Nolensville Road where it received a makeover estimated to be worth $10-15,000. This included a customized paint job, hand-painted pin striping, a new windshield, new bumpers, a phantom grill, a line-x bed liner, new wheels and tires, a toolbox, a revamped interior including racing seats, new radio and speakers, a chrome engine kit, and a new brake system.
"4Wheel Parts place wanted Justin to believe that his truck had been stolen," says Newsom. Justin thought the truck was in Wartrace the last two weeks. Last Tuesday Brad texted Justin with an urgent message to call. "When he called his dad, Brad asked if he had come and got his truck the night before because it wasn't out there anymore."
Newsom, who celebrated her own college graduation in Nashville last Saturday, told her family and friends that she had promised King they would stop by for a visit. With local news crews on hand, Justin believed he was being interviewed about his experiences at Camp Phoenix.
A few minutes later, a Camp Phoenix director pulled the truck around to the front of the building. "I thought, 'That's a nice-looking truck,'" said Justin before noticing a large "before" photo taped to the windshield.
"I had no clue," said Justin of the surprise.