A North Dakota woman has spent her entire life encouraging and uplifting others. In return, those same people gave her the surprise of a lifetime.

In this Positively North Dakota story, a woman shows us that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

“She was the only one that stuck by me when stuff went really bad,” said Mike Popham.

Mike Popham is talking about the mother of his significant other. Charlotte Goerndt, or Gramma Jo, as most people know her. She’s such an inspiration to him…he named a restaurant that he co-owns after her in Sawyer. But Mike knew he had to do more.

He adds, “We were out camping memorial weekend and she was like “Mike you know something?
For my birthday, my dream would be to drive the race car that my name is on.”

With her 89th birthday just around the corner, Mike knew driving an actual race car might not be realistic. So he got her the next best thing.

“Maybe we can get her in a car,” said Popham.

With the help from his friends at Nodak Speedway, he was able to give her the birthday surprise she has been wishing for.

“If someone wants to fulfill a dream of being on a race track, we want to help them fulfill their dream,” said Brandon Better, Nodak Speedway, President.

Gramma Jo’s face said it all when her family told her what she would be receiving for her birthday. Riding at top speeds around a race track.

“I could of had that steering wheel in my hand. In fact, sometimes I think I did. In my head. But it’s very exciting. Very different,” said Gramma Jo.

With all the spunk of a 20 year old, she says the key to longevity is living life on the edge.

“You keep on going and you keep on looking for something else to do…that’s legal of course. And exciting,” she said.

Now that her need for speed has been met, Gramma Jo says she doesn’t know what’s next.
But this is one surprise that will be hard to top.

Gramma Jo will turn 89 on Tuesday.