A good Samaritan read a USA Today article about a disabled man that was unable to pay off his predatory car title loans and paid off his loans in a gesture of kindness.
One disabled man was just trying to get his car fixed, not fully understanding how car title loans prey on people with astronomical interest rates. He didn’t immediately realize that once the clock started ticking, the interest compounded faster than he could pay back.
Disabled Arizona Man Didn’t Realize that His Car Title Loan Interest Was Growing Fast
USA TODAY reported on 3 November 2022 that disabled Arizona man James Hollis thought he could manage to pay back pair of car title loans to repair the transmission on his 2006 Ford Crown Victoria.
His only income comes from his Social Security disability and food stamps and didn’t think it would be an issue to pay back $3,050 in car title loans, with $427 of his income going to the car title loan companies.
It wasn’t until after he signed up for the loans, he found out that when it was all “said and done,” the $3,050 in car title loans would balloon to $13,791 because of “compounding triple-digit interest rates.” One of the loans reached 155% interest, while the other reached 202% interest. (Source: USA TODAY, S2)
After USA TODAY first featured his story, they reported that at least a half-dozen people offered to help James Hollis pay off his debt before his Ford Crown Victoria was in danger of being repossessed.
He was so afraid that the car title loan company would come to get his car that he started parking it sideways in his Tucson, Arizona carport.
One man ultimately did step up and paid it all, after learning about James Hollis’ story, and felt compassion to help.
This is truly a remarkable thing he did for a complete stranger.
A Dentist from California Pays off James Hollis’ Predatory Loan Debt
USA TODAY reported that Lorne Lavine, a dentist from Encino, CA learned about James Hollis’ situation and felt compelled to help. Mr. Lavine has done other kinds of things for others, such as going on humanitarian trips overseas to help those that can’t afford dental care.
James Hollis owed two predatory loans from two different car title companies. Lavine paid off the $2,600 loan directly and mailed a check to Hollis for the other loan because the car title company would not allow a third party to pay it off.
All-in-all, Lavine is the definition of a good Samaritan (see photo below).
Lavine spoke to USA Today about why he wanted to help James Hollis.
“I felt horrible,” Lavine told USA TODAY. “The people who need these loans the most are the most challenged to pay it back, and these rates are crazy. I understand there is an increased risk for these loan companies, but over 200%?… How can people get their heads above water when they have 200% interest on loans?” -Lorne Lavine, Dentist and Good Samaritan (Source: USA TODAY, S1)
One other reason he wanted to help James Hollis, was because he wants to be a good role model to his 16-year-old son, Jake.
“I get pleasure and joy in helping others out,” Lavine said. “I want him (Jake) to be a good person and be helpful and kind and respectful.” -Lorne Lavine, Dentist and Good Samaritan (Source: USA TODAY, S1)
James Hollis was truly grateful to Lorne Lavine for stepping in to pay off his debt.
“I feel a great sense of relief. I didn’t know how I was going to make it. I was strapped.” -James Hollis, a victim of predatory loans (Source: USA TODAY, S1)
James Hollis received a generous gift from a complete stranger, and just in time for the holidays. Now he will have a little money from his disability check to buy a few gifts for relatives this Christmas.
Most importantly, James Hollis now understands how dangerous car title loans are, and will never attempt to get one ever again.
Please help share this positive story on social media so we can get the conversation going about kindness and gratitude for the holidays.
S1. Harris, Craig. “Good Samaritan pays off predatory loan debt of Arizona man featured in USA TODAY.” USA TODAY. 8 November 2022.
S2. Harris, Craig. “What are payday loans and other types of predatory lending?” USA TODAY. 3 November 2022.
Referenced: “Predatory loan interest rates turn one man’s desperation into…” USA TODAY. 3 November 2022.
Note: S1 & S2 are used for different articles written by the same author and publication.