They say that not all superheroes wear capes, but in this instance, they do.
Batman, Spider-Man and Catwoman have taken a little respite from slaying their villainous rivals to bring love and hope to children battling illness.
An incredible initiative, named Smiles Through Cars, gives young people the surprise of their life as their favourite character arrives in a luxury car to pay them a special visit.
Chatting exclusively to Uspire, Josh Aryeh told us just how he founded the company and the magical impact it has on his young clients.
Josh said: “When I was a teenager, one of my cousins was a member of an exotic car club, this meant he could bring home a different car almost every week.
“In the beginning, I was only allowed to go for rides, but as I got older, I was allowed to drive and after a while, I developed a reputation for driving high-end cars.
“One day, I received a call that changed my life, and those in the community.
“I was asked if we could give a ride to an eight-year-old girl who had cancer and always dreamed of going in a Lamborghini.
“I coordinated the surprise with the family to meet the girl at her house in-between chemo treatments.
“It was an experience that changed my life forever and enabled me to visit thousands of sick children since then.”
Josh says he remembers sitting in front of the house, then seeing a little girl brought outside in a wheelchair. As she was wheeled out, initially with her head to the ground, things soon changed when she looked up and saw a bright yellow Lamborghini.
He said: “Her ENTIRE face lit up with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen! She got into the car and I drove around for 20-30 minutes. The top was down, music was blasting, and her smile remained on her face the entire time.
“As soon as she was wheeled back into her house, the mother started crying hysterically. I thought that maybe I said something or did something offensive, since it was my first time giving a ride to a sick child, so I apologised to the mother.
“She said, ‘No, you don’t understand why I’m crying. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. She has had more than 20 surgeries, she had to be quarantined, she had a bad infection which caused her to become paralysed. This is the first time I’ve seen my daughter smile since she was diagnosed four years ago.’”
Josh realised that if he was able to have such a positive impact on this girl’s life during a time of despair by doing something so simple, he would do whatever he could to do it more often – and 10 years later he is continuing his work visiting sick kids in exotic cars.
In fact, he has even started his own company.
Josh said: “Smiles Through Cars is a unique organisation, we become part of the family.
“Instead of visiting one time, we create a bond with the families and make sure to Face-Time or visit as often as needed.
“Most parents are extremely appreciative for the random acts of kindness, seeing their smiles during times of despair is truly priceless.
“I want to make them forget about their worries and enjoy the time that we’re with them. When I pull up to the hospital, outpatient centre, or home in the car, the kids always smile.
“That initial excitement is always the highlight of my day. Seeing their happiness during their hardest times makes all the time and effort worth it.”
While COVID-19 did affect the business, Josh has found ways to carry out socially distanced activities and instead of visiting hospitals, he has been delivering food and medical supplies to children’s families and elderly couples who are housebound.
He added: “Additionally, we’ve been doing weekly drive by visits or Face-Time chats to up to 20 families per week since the beginning of pandemic.
“There will always be unexpected changes to daily life, but you can either run from it or adjust to it and continue achieving your goals.
“Our goal is to make the world a better place so we were never going to let coronavirus prevent that from happening.”
Josh’s initial idea has now grown into a movement, with him receiving hundreds of messages every week through social media from people asking to join or looking for advice on how they can implement a similar concept in their area.
To get involved, visit Smiles Through Cars.