A small crowd gathered under sunny skies this morning at Herb Chambers Lexus in Sharonto watch as a local hero received a big gift.
Wearing a blue-and-yellow Boston Strong T-shirt and his signature cowboy hat, Carlos Arredondo smiled and hugged his supporters before shaking Chambers' hand and hopping into a glossy red Toyota Tacoma.
"No one asked for this terrible situation [the Boston Marathon bombing] to happen, but I think the good in people — we can see it," Arredondo told the group of media and Boston Strong supporters.
"Since it happened, there have been so many events taking care of the survivors. I've been going to pretty much all of it, and I've been seeing the kindness of the human beings and for me to be here now is wonderful," said Arredondo, who was accompanied by his wife, Melida.
Arredondo has been hailed a hero since April 15, when he helped save the life of Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman when two bombs tore through the Boylston Street finish line. Arredondo has since reunited with Bauman, now a double amputee.
Chambers said the gift is his way of thanking Arredondo, who is also an advocate for veterans, for his bravery and heroism.
"I was there that day. ... To see you do what you did truly rocked me. You've got courage like no one I've ever seen. To give you one of our trucks makes me very proud," said Chambers, who said he witnessed the bombing first hand.
"You ran right into harm's way. A lot of people would have run in the opposite direction. I admire and respect what you did. Boston loves you, and I think that this country loves you," said Chambers.
Applause surrounded Arredondo as he surveyed his new toy. "Wow. Whoa," he said, while reiterating his gratitude to Chambers.
He tested out the windows and explored the extended cab (he plans to bring his two dogs with him as during his travels), and told Chambers he hit the mark with the color — red is his favorite.
"He deserves it," said Elizabeth Dias, of Taunton. "After everything he's been through and everything he's done ... people always look up to actors, singers and athletes, but he is a real hero."
Dias was one of many supporters to turn out at the dealership this morning. Donning a Boston Strong T-shirt, Dias said she met Arredondo on June 30, when she finished the last leg of theOne Run national relay, which ran about five hours behind schedule.
"It was 1 a.m., and he was there with a smile on his face, greeting everyone as they came over the finish line," she said. "I wanted to be here for him today, because he's been there for us."