The Fiduccia family travels quite a bit with their custom-built K.I.T.T. replica from the 1980’s television show Knight Rider. They meet thousands of great fans throughout the year, which understandably makes it difficult for them to remember everyone they talk to.
But once in a while a fan comes along that makes an impact so strong, it’s almost impossible to forget their short interaction together.
The Fiduccia’s recently had their car on display at a 80’s-themed festival in Hazleton, PA. And as part of their campaign to “make a difference“, they teamed up with the local fire department to help raise money for their station. For a small donation, they presented the show’s guests with an opportunity to win a cool Knight Rider prop and also get some photos taken inside the car.
Out of the hundreds of people who stopped by though, one girl’s simple act of generosity would become a moment that they would never forget.
For the purposes of this article, let’s call this young lady “Sarah.”
Sarah was maybe in her pre-teens and very shy. But she also had a genuine love for the original Knight Rider TV show. Thus when she came up close to KITT at the festival, it was clear she was living a dream-come-true.
So the car’s owner, Joe Fiduccia, offered to have her sit inside for some photos…no donation required.
However, her family did not have a camera, nor a mobile phone. So Joe offered to take pictures with his own phone and then text or email them to Sarah. But the family went on to explain they had no email address and no phone number.
“Sarah and her family seemed to be in a difficult financial situation,” said Joe in an interview with AmericasFootprints.com. “I almost got the impression she didn’t have a real home to go to. But I obviously never brought this up in conversation.”
Fiduccia once again offered Sarah an opportunity to sit inside, but she declined thinking she had to pay money to do it. He reminded her that no donation was required, and happily opened the door to invite her in. Sarah hesitated, but finally took him up on the offer.
“She walked up to the car, and the best way I can describe it – she ‘petted’ it…almost like petting a dog or cat,” explained Joe. “She even said hello and spoke to it for a few minutes (even though KITT was not responding back).”
Fiduccia went on to show Sarah all of KITT’s gadgets, and had the car introduce himself to Sarah using voice recognition software. He then offered to take a picture of her inside the car with his phone, asking if she knew anyone with a phone or email that he could send the picture to. Sarah provided him with a number of a family relative, and he sent it to them right away.
But it was Sarah’s final act before they parted ways that would ultimately stay on Fiduccia’s mind. Because on her way out of the car, she took out a small amount of money from her own pocket and put it in the raffle jar. He told her that wasn’t necessary and tried giving it back…but Sarah and her family insisted. So they all shook hands and said goodbye.
For the remainder of the weekend, Sarah was on Fiduccia’s mind. He tells us: “though her name wasn’t drawn in the raffle, I really wanted to do something more for her. All then it hit me that I had her picture on my phone AND a phone number for someone she knew.”
So Fiduccia decided to do something special for Sarah and hopefully brighten her future a little more. A week after the show ended, he ordered her a custom made t-shirt with Sarah’s photo and some wording about her visit with KITT. He mailed the shirt to the Hazleton Chamber of Commerce (the sponsors of the festival), and called the phone number he had to notify the family relative that Sarah had a special surprise waiting for her at their office.
“I’m hoping it is something that she could wear with pride,” says Fiduccia, “and that she can use as a memory of a moment in life that made her smile. It’s a shame I won’t be there to see her face. But I’m really hoping she will like it.”
Be sure to follow the Fiduccia’s KITT on Facebook as they continue their quest to make a difference.