The Gift of Mobility
Her 4-year-old son, Ollie, lives with cerebral palsy — among other brain injury issues caused at birth — and uses a wheelchair to move around.
Any time McGill takes Ollie along for family outings or errands, she has to disassemble his wheelchair piece by piece, put him in the car and load the trunk with the wheelchair’s parts.
Palmiero Toyota’s President and General Manager, Allison Palmiero Brady, knew there had to be a better way.
She was familiar with the McGills’ story. Stephanie’s husband, Rob, has been a technician at Palmiero Toyota for 12 years. But Brady also recognized the larger need for families living with mobility challenges in her community.
“Some people would drive hours to get their modified car inspected or had to ship their vehicle via transport for an inspection,” she says. “So that’s what inspired me to get this done.”
Breaking Through Barriers
The dealership has a legacy of going above and beyond. Joe Palmiero, her father, opened the Meadville, Pennsylvania, dealership’s doors in 1981 with the goal to exceed customers’ expectations. Now at the helm, Brady does too, breaking through barriers to provide solutions for customers like the McGills.
“I’m excited. She’s onto something big with this,” says the elder Palmiero. “She knows exactly what she’s doing.”
With the dedication of her team, Brady formed a strategic fellowship with BraunAbility and its lineup of wheelchair accessible vehicles. Dealership employees underwent several hours of training to become certified by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Last June, she and her team hosted an open house to unveil a profound transformation: the Palmiero Mobility department.
“When we heard the news, we literally screamed,” says Brenda Bennett, president of Transportation Solutions. “Transportation is a true challenge here and Palmiero Toyota was the only one who stepped up to help people living with disabilities. Now we have a certified mobility provider. And it’s someone you can trust.”
A winner of Toyota’s prestigious President’s Award for Service — Excellence every year since its 1986 inception — it’s a significant addition to Palmiero Toyota’s portfolio. As an Authorized BraunAbility Dealer, Palmiero Mobility will sell and service wheelchair accessible vehicles and install adaptive driving equipment as well. Collaborating with Q’Straint, Sure Grip and B&D Independence, it will also showcase a vast array of additional mobility accessories.
“It’s been a phenomenal partnership because the cultures of BraunAbility and Toyota are the same. We are both totally committed to meeting the mobility needs of the consumer,” says Matt Swope, director of sales for BraunAbility. “And when Toyota decides to get involved with something, they truly commit.”
Mobility for All
Palmiero Mobility is just one example of Toyota’s commitment to provide mobility for all. It symbolizes the mobility company’s vision to preserve the human right, dignity and freedom for every person to move and to live without limitations.
That includes the McGills, whose mobility struggles resonated with Brady and the entire Palmiero Toyota team. But the McGills never could have guessed what happened next.
In October, the dealership surprised the family with a 2018 converted BraunAbility Toyota Sienna, free of charge. The van comes equipped with an automatic wheelchair ramp. Now Ollie can drive his wheelchair into the van and ride with his family. They’ve dubbed it “Ollie’s Swagger Wagon.”
Brady is confident the partnership with BraunAbility will help her dealership reach a new customer base. But for her, it touches on something so much deeper — human dignity.
“For people living with disabilities, once you take away their vehicles, you take away their independence,” Brady says. “These vehicles allow them to live their lives as they should.”