As the self-declared official yellow Kia fan page, we went in search of all the details on Gulfport’s favorite car.
On that dark and stormy Wednesday morning, a yellow Kia Soul won the hearts of Gulfportians watching on our Gulfport webcam. Across the street from the Gulfport Beach Bazaar, everyone watched as a storm surge flooded the streets — and one lonesome yellow Kia.
Questions emerged with concern. Who is she? Is the yellow Kia OK? Does it have damage? Whose car is this? Does she have a name? Why was it left all by its lonesome?
Gulfport Has Soul
Her name is Sunny.
“That’s about as close to a name as she has. I often refer to her as ‘my little yellow car,'” said owner Ron Hayward, aka Captain Ron.
Hayward received the yellow cube car as a gift from his son Ronnie Hayward about eight months ago.
“It’s a great little car,” Hayward said. “To me it has a sunny disposition. So it’s the right color.”
Our Brave Yellow (Kia) Submarine
On Aug. 29, Hayward recalls moving seven boats with his group, Opiate Awareness Institute (OAI), to prepare for the storm the next day. As someone who lives in the local marina on a boat, he tends to leave his yellow Kia in the shade across from Gulfport Beach Bazaar.
By the time Hayward and colleagues finished moving the boats that evening, the winds had already picked up. He said he knew his car was a little bit up the street. But he didn’t imagine the storm surge would reach that far up the block.
And just like that, we all watched from behind our screens as the water flooded Shore and Beach Boulevards — along with this yellow Kia.
For those wondering about her physical well being, Hayward took Sunny to the carwash the day after the hurricane.
Sunny got the spa day she desperately deserved. Hayward said water made its way into the car, reaching the bottom half of the seats.
Yellow Kia Fandom
“I have a couple of friends that are big on social media, not myself. But, they started seeing things all over social media,” Hayward said. “There’s even a girl who does T-shirts and stickers with my car on it and I bought a couple.”
Redbubble user maudelawless created Gulfport Has Soul merch for the box-shaped vehicle. Invest in a sticker, clothes, and bags with Sunny on the front.
You may even find photos of the car on The Gabber Newspaper’s social media pages as well as Gulfport-related Facebook groups.
“But ‘Soul of Gulfport’ will be on her back window within a couple weeks… I’m ordering a vinyl graphic,” Hayward said.
Keep your eye out for Sunny’s new tail art the next time you’re around town.