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A graduation gift … and more

Staff Writer

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon Grandpa Ernest Gallegos hands over the keys of his classic car to grandson Isaiah Gallegos. Ernest promised the car to Isaiah as a graduation gift years ago, and followed through on his word shortly after the commencement ceremony at Pagosa Springs High School.

Photo courtesy Jeff Laydon
Grandpa Ernest Gallegos hands over the keys of his classic car to grandson Isaiah Gallegos. Ernest promised the car to Isaiah as a graduation gift years ago, and followed through on his word shortly after the commencement ceremony at Pagosa Springs High School.

Most teenagers would love to get a car for graduation.

Most don’t.

But one recent Pagosa Springs High School graduate got just that — and more.

2013 PSHS graduate Isaiah Gallegos, 18, didn’t just get an ordinary car. It was his grandfather’s prized 1956 Pontiac GTO convertible.

Ernest Gallegos owned the car for 35 years, painstakingly restoring it “little by little” to excellent condition.

Ernest didn’t always plan on giving the car away. It wasn’t until his grandson was in junior high school that he promised it as a gift.

While on a walk with Isaiah five or six years ago, Ernest said the pair were having a conversation about how Isaiah was doing in school. It was during that walk, Ernest said, that he told Isaiah to stay in school and out of trouble. If he did, the car would be his upon graduation.

“I love my car a lot, but I love my grandson more,” Ernest said.

And that promise did its job. Isaiah graduated, even though he, at one point, considered not completing high school — but the car changed his mind.

“I’ve been looking forward to it this entire time,” Isaiah said.

“He kept his end of the deal, so I figured I better keep mine,” Ernest said, adding that people often reminded him of the promise and questioned if he was serious. “I’m not going to go back on my word. He kept his.”

“I’m just super grateful for him still doing that,” Isaiah said.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on June 20, 2013.