(AP) - Car dealer Brad Benson made the pitch to
He was surprised, though, when a representative for Jones called to collect the 2011 Hyundai Accent, retailing for $14,200.
"They said unless I was doing false advertising, they would like to arrange to pick up the car," Benson recalled. At first he thought it was a hoax, so Benson asked Jones to send in a copy of his driver's license. He did.
He said he plans to donate the car to an organization that helps abused Muslim women.
The pastor will have to pick up the car at Brad Benson Mitsubishi Hyundai in
Jones had threatened to burn the Quran over plans to build an Islamic center and mosque near where terrorists brought down the
His plans drew opposition across the world. President Barack Obama appealed to him on television, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates called him personally. Gen. David Petraeus, head of the
Benson, a former New York Giants center, said he originally offered Jones use of a car for a year if he refused to burn a Quran ever.
"I just didn't think that was a good thing for our country right now," Benson said.
He's now giving Jones the car outright because he doesn't want to be connected to whatever the
"I don't want to be involved in the politics of that," Benson said.
Before he made his decision, Benson asked listeners to weigh in on whether he should honor his promise.
More than 2,600 people responded by phone and e-mail, and the vast majority, Benson said, urged him to keep his word.
One caller suggested painting sayings from various religious books - the Quran, the Talmud, the King James Bible - on the car.
"What you didn't say was what the car was going to look like when you gave it to him," the caller said.
Another caller told Benson to "be a man" and keep his promise. And some encouraged Benson to pick his own charity to get a car.
In 2003, Benson offered another newsmaker - Saddam Hussein - a new car if he fled
The Quran commercial was part of a regular "idiot award" segment Benson has singled out others for, including Lindsey Lohan, Mel Gibson and Roger Clemens.
"We don't have your typical car commercial," Benson said.
But they are memorable - and effective. Three years ago, he was selling 60 cars a month, he said. Today, that number is between 500 and 600 - making him one of the state's most successful dealers.