Former foster kid gets surprise of a lifetime at Austin Marathon

The Austin Marathon is all about making memories, and for one runner, Sunday's race is a race to remember.

Abel Marron Rodriguez thought he was being greeted by his family to congratulate him on finishing the half-marathon. Little did he know he was going to be receiving a brand-new car.

"I can't even describe it. A big crowd of people, big support system is, something I'm familiar with, but not this big," said Rodriguez.

Austin Angels' Dare to Dream program and City Limits Subaru worked for months to pull this surprise off. Austin Angels say Abel is a deserving candidate. At a young age, Abel took on a big responsibility in looking out for his younger siblings when they were placed in foster care.

"The past three years, I've been with the Millers. I've been very grateful to have them in my life. And early on, Jaina, and Chris, they, they found the Austin Angels program," said Rodriguez.

The Austin Angels program is a mentor program that helps foster kids like Abel navigate their future.

"Being a mentor can mean a lot of things, but at the end of that truly is just being a friend and someone who shows up. And I think that's what I've tried to do over the past three years. And I think our friendship is just growing and something just truly amazing," said Connor Copeland, an Austin Angels mentor.


Abel relies on public transportation, traveling between Austin and San Antonio by bus to attend college and return home for visits. Seeing this challenge, Subaru helped him out with a new car to make commutes a bit easier.

Now that Abel has the keys to his new car, what's going to be his first stop?

"First I'm going to go by my house and get redressed, shower it up, and then from there, one of my siblings is probably going to come, and I will take him somewhere. My brother wants to go to P Terry's, get a, you know, Oreo shake. But your sisters want to go shopping for god knows what. And then afterwards, personally, I don't know. I've yet to find out where I'm going to drive myself first," says Rodriguez.

While this race was a race to remember, Abel hopes to continue making memories with his mentor.

"I'm a big-time runner. But I haven't really been running much since high school. But, half-marathons, maybe full marathons in the future," says Rodriguez.

"What's been talked about, doing a triathlon together. Stay tuned, we'll see," says Copeland.