Hurricane Ian Replaces Million-Mile Highlander for Owner.

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We all have vehicles that we’ve deeply cared for. Cars that become embedded within our family. Florida’s Mark Miller owned a dependable 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which he treasured till sadly Hurricane Ian caused its destruction. After learning of his tale, Toyota presented him a remarkable gift as recognition of his allegiance.

It all began when Miller got in touch with Toyota’s Brand Engagement Center. Unwilling to let his faithful four-wheeler be cast off, he reached out to the car maker and asked them if they’d consider buying the Highlander for study purposes.

“When I spoke to Miller on the phone,” Daniel Nichols, a customer relations representative at Toyota, recalled, “I could hear his smile. He was full of energy and positivity – and I knew Toyota had to do something special for him.”

Rumors of Miller’s tale quickly spread across the Toyota empire like a fast-moving blaze and, immediately, personnel from 15 teams concocted an idea to honor Miller with a modern Highlander Hybrid Bronze Edition.

Miller said.Miller was sent to Germain Toyota of Naples, the same dealer he had placed his trust in for his old Highlander, under the belief that he would be sharing his story with the staff. “My wife and I were discussing it,” Miller recalled, “and she said, ‘Oh, you’re going to get another cooler.'”

Reaching the milestone of half a million miles with his Highlander, Miller got a reward – a cooler – from the same dealership. Yet, this was not what he expected to see awaiting him when he showed up at Germain Toyota.

“The fact that you [drove] your Toyota for over 16 years, put over one million miles on it, and allowed us to be a part of keeping that vehicle going for you, in my mind, makes you the most loyal customer we’ve ever had,” said dealer owner Richard Germain. “We just had to thank you for your unwavering commitment to us.”

Parked just behind him was the ultimate thank-you gift, a 2023 Highlander Hybrid finished in Cement Grey – a perfect match for Miller, who owns an asphalt paving business. The Toyota enthusiast was overjoyed by the gesture. “My heart is overflowing with emotion. I’m overwhelmed. This is an unbelievable thing. It’s a huge financial relief to me since I needed it and couldn’t quite manage to buy it.”

“There’s no way I’d get anything else,” said Miller, revealing his plans to purchase a new Toyota Highlander before now. He had been saving up for it for some time.

Like his old Highlander, the Bronze Edition has become Miller’s new workhorse. His previous model was the very definition of a trusty steed and did practically anything, from working as an on-the-go office to hauling trailers. “I’ve likely made around 8,000 trips across [the 80-mile long] Alligator Alley,” he said.

Retirement may be looming, but Miller’s first priority was to load up his new Highlander with tools. “But before I do that,” he said, “I need to make sure I protect it. I’m going to get some seat covers.” The latest Highlander model offers more luxury, performance, and safety than its predecessor, so this is a wise move.

It’s highly improbable that he will ever reach the incredible one-million-mile feat again, but Miller offered some words of wisdom for those aspiring to do so. “Never forget to change your oil,” he stated.

Although his car and house were damaged, the competent tradesman was not discouraged, utilizing his expertise and skill to resurrect his neighborhood. Yet, he had a colossal yearning for his dependable SUV. Fortunately, he is once again in his rightful place – driving his Highlander car.

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