A Mother's Day to remember

Local pontoon business gives free rentals to single mothers

Annie Blanks
The Destin Log
Crystal Cargill plays in the water with her friend's son Luke Mohr. Cargill received a free pontoon rental on Mother's Day from Aloha Pontoon Rentals in Destin, who gave two free rentals to single mothers. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

A local business’ kind gesture on Mother’s Day gave two single mothers a day on the water and lasting memories with their children.

Danny Bilger, marketing manager for Aloha Pontoon Rentals in Destin, had a spur-of-the-moment idea to give two single mothers free pontoon boat rentals on Sunday for the special holiday. The rentals would normally cost $200 for a full day.

He posted the giveaway on his personal Facebook page Saturday morning and received an overwhelming response, according to Karen Bilger, who owns the business and has also been a single mother herself.

“It wasn’t marketing or anything, it was simple,” Karen said. “(Danny) comes from a single mom for most of his life, and I was also a single mom for quite a bit of time, so it was just something that I had wished had happened when I was a single mom.”

The first two single mothers who called the company received the free boats for a day, according to Karen. One of those mothers was Crystal Cargill, a cosmetologist and aspiring real estate agent in Destin who has three children, two of whom are grown and one of whom is 8 years old. She said she had planned a simple beach day with her 8-year-old son, Hayden, because she wouldn’t have been able to come up with the $200 for a boat trip.

“It was pretty amazing to be able to go out on the boat and not have to worry about having the funds,” Cargill said.

Cargill brought along her son, her sister, her friend and her friend’s young child.  

“We had a blast,” she said. “We drove around, we went into Joe’s Bayou for a little bit, and then anchored down at Crab Island, and played ball and kind of walked around a little…we finished up the day and it was a simple, easy Mother’s Day.”

Cargill said she was “blown away” by the Bilgers’ generosity, and would now be a lifelong customer of Aloha Pontoon Rentals.

“There were no expectations, no fine print,” Cargill said. “(Danny) just gave it away no questions asked…they really took care of us. And to be gifted that on such a great day for being a parent was fantastic. I thought it was amazing.”