Wal-Mart, North Texas Woman Settle Over Wrecked SUV

A Midlothian grandmother can't believe her good fortune almost three weeks after her SUV was totaled at Wal-Mart.

She had taken her 1998 Ford Expedition to the Wal-Mart in Midlothian for an oil change. Minutes later, she returned to find the vehicle had been totaled.

A Wal-Mart technician said the throttle stuck and he'd crashed into a wall to avoid hitting another employee.

Wal-Mart's insurer investigated the incident for two weeks. During that time, Slayton, the owner of a small flower shop, had only a borrowed vehicle. She said that was hard on business because she delivers many arrangements herself.

"I'll go take care of them – the personal touch. But I wasn't able to do that," said Slayton.

She said after losing her vehicle, she had to hire drivers and even had to turn away business if the delivery was too far away. Wal-Mart initially offered $3,200, but Slayton said that wasn't enough to replace her SUV and compensate her for the impact on her business.

After the NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit published stories about the incident, the owner of a used car dealership gave Slayton a 2002 Ford Expedition.

"It's wonderful!" Slayton exclaimed after climbing in her replacement SUV. "I can't believe it, too many blessings that I can count!"

But she'd soon be counting more blessings. Friday evening, she got an unexpected phone call from Wal-Mart's insurer, saying the company wanted to increase the settlement offer.

"It came to like $6,200 when they got done," said Slayton.

The company will reimburse her for towing her totaled truck, her brief car rental and pay her $100 a day for the weeks she was without a vehicle. But what the retail giant's representative said moved her more than the money.

"He wanted to tell me how sorry he was for what I had gone through. And something came over me. It was the first kind word Wal-Mart has given me in two-and-a-half weeks," said Slayton.

She said she should receive the check in a few days. She plans to put some of the money in savings to use for likely repairs on her newly acquired late-model Expedition, and she said perhaps she'll use some of the money to bless somebody else.

She believes in paying it forward.

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