A1 Automotive owner hands over car to Pepe’s Bistro owner

A1 Automotive owner hands over car to Pepe’s Bistro owner
A1 Automotive owner hands over car to Pepe’s Bistro owner

Pepe Fierro gets a car, 7.9

Kendall Warnock (right), owner of A1 Automotive, donated a used car to Pepe Fierro, owner of Pepe’s Bistro, in early July.

Kendall Warnock, photo courtesy

Pepe’s Bistro and A1 Automotive have something in common: They are two small businesses in Lincoln that are built on generosity. All the vegan restaurant and auto repair shop need is upstanding neighbors, good timing and a lot of gratitude for the community.

In early July, Kendall Warnock, owner of A1 Automotive, donated an SUV to Pepe Fierro, owner of Pepe’s Bistro, as he was in desperate need of a new means of transportation.

Fierro has long been known for his love for his community at 1131 S. 11th St. The small business owner has hosted countless fundraisers and provides space for aspiring artists, but he’s not the type to ask for help.

“One of the biggest hurdles is learning to ask for help. It’s OK to ask for help,” Fierro said.

When Fierro’s beloved Dodge Caravan was “on its last legs,” he posted on social media that he was looking for a used hatchback or SUV. He relied on the Caravan to shop for groceries and, more importantly, to take his 87-year-old mother to her doctor’s appointments.

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Warnock was randomly scrolling through Facebook when he came across the post from the restaurant owner who was looking to buy a car. Although Warnock’s and Fierro’s businesses were only a few blocks apart, the two had never officially met.

“I had heard his name before and knew he was a generous donor in the community,” Warnock said. “That immediately attracted me.”

Just in time, less than 48 hours before Pepe’s post appeared, A1 Automotive purchased a damaged 2007 Ford Edge. The Ford, like other cars Warnock has received, comes in with extensive repairs that the owners don’t want to do. Instead, A1 Automotive buys the car at a “fair price” and gives it away.

“The intention is to give it to someone who doesn’t have a means of transportation,” Warnock said. “Fix it, use our skills and then give it to someone who needs it.”

Each year, Warnock gives away about four to six cars, depending on how many cars are scrapped at the auto shop at 1117 L St.

“I believe we are put on this earth to help others, and if we can help anyone out there, then part of my life’s mission is to help others,” Warnock said.

Warnock contacted Fierro via Facebook Messenger before offering the Ford.

“He asked me, ‘how much,’ and I said, ‘I’ll give you that,'” Warnock said. “Those are really the success stories that I’m super grateful to be a part of.”

Giving back to others was a value instilled in Warnock from a young age. He grew up in a small village on a reservation and his family relied on food stamps and the help of others to have water and put food on the table.

“We had to support each other within the community because none of us had much,” Warnock said.

As a business owner, Warnock says he gets up every day and tries to make the community better. He gathered his team and ordered the parts, determined to make a difference for Fierro and his mother.

Kendall Warnock, owner of A1 Automotive, donated a car to Pepe Fierro, owner of Pepe’s Bistro.


On July 3, the repaired vehicle was handed over to Fierro.

“I’m still smiling,” Warnock said, remembering Fierro’s grin as he drove away. “I wanted to make a difference in his life, and I would do it 10 more times this year if God would let me. I would do it 20 times if He would let me.”

A week after receiving the Ford Edge, Fierro still can’t believe Warnock’s kindness.

“It was hard to comprehend,” Fierro said. “I just couldn’t believe it, and I still can.”

Twenty years ago, when Fierro moved to Lincoln, he lived in his car. Now, the generosity will help Fierro continue doing what he loves help others.

“This car is truly going to change everything,” Fierro said. “Kendall’s gift is going to change my life. It’s going to allow me to keep doing what I’m doing and more.”

For example, driving to Omaha with frozen food deliveries and safely transporting his mother to appointments.

“I told Kendall, ‘You have burritos forever, man, I’ll bring them over any time,'” Fierro said.

Reach the author at 402-473-7241 or [email protected]. On Twitter @ajohnson6170

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