Flood Hits Auto Body Shop During 50th Anniversary

March 15, 2024
A GoFundMe page was started to help with the repairs.

Southland Autobody, an auto shop that has served the National City, California area for half a century, is facing a significant setback just as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The shop, owned by Vicky Hayes, was severely damaged in the recent flash floods that swept through the area in late January.

The floodwaters, which rose to knee-high, caused extensive damage to the interior and back of the shop. Some vehicles and shop supplies could not be moved to safety in time, resulting in potential total losses and extensive mud coverage across the premises.

“When I look at the road ahead, I just get so emotional,” she told FenderBender over the phone.

Despite numerous challenges over the years, including rezoning demands, a lesser flood in 2017, and the pandemic, the team has kept the shop running. They have even provided part-time jobs and discounted services to friends during tough times.

The future of Southland Autobody is now in jeopardy due to the flood. Hayes’ daughter, Kayla, started a GoFundMe as the community was still dealing with the weather event, which Hayes admitted to FenderBender, she was hesitant about.

“I’m not the kind of person to ask for help,” she humbly said.

As of March 14, the GoFundMe raised $4,235. “I feel amazing,” Hayes said about the donations. “They’re angels. Every single one of them are angels.”

She didn’t just receive support in the form of money but also cleaning and repair supplies, as well as food for her employees. Some of her customers donated even though their vehicles remained unfixed.

FenderBender caught the story after it was covered by local TV news outlet ABC 10News.

Despite all the support, she said more is still needed. Even after going through her entire savings to fix what she could, donations are still welcome at the GoFundMe page.

About the Author

Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa | Associate Editor

Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa is associate editor at FenderBender and ABRN. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and has covered various beats beyond collision repair news such as politics, education, sports, and religion. His first car was a silver 2009 Chrysler Sebring which he nicknamed the Enterprise because he’s a Star Trek fan. He now drives a 2014 Jeep Cherokee in order to tolerate Minnesota winters.

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