Facbook Post Leads To $80,000 Surprise For 89-Year-Old Grandmother (VIDEO)
By Rida Ahmed | Dec 24, 2013 03:50 PM EST
Thanks to the thoughtfulness of a granddaughter and a local radio DJ, 89-year-old Vivian Gallegos was gifted an early Christmas present in the form of a home makeover, Yahoo Shine reported.
It all started with a Facebook post by KBPI morning host Willie B. "What's something you've always wanted to do but couldn't because $$$ kept you from doing it???" he asked his fans in November.
Stacy Salazar's reply out of more than 800-plus answers fascinated him the most.
"Replace the carpets for my 90-year-old Grammy and fixing all the little things around her house," she wrote. "Just a small thank you for not giving us kids up to foster care when our parents died."
In a culture which encourages consumerism and greed, this simple dream stood out.
"It was a very unselfish answer to a question designed to be selfish," Willie B, whose real name is Steve Meade, told Yahoo Shine.
Upon contacting Salazar, Meade found out that Salazar's single mom was murdered when she was just 7 and her siblings were 5 and 8. Despite being 71 years old and caring for a husband in the late stages of Parkinson's disease, Gallegos took in all three kids and raised them.
According to Yahoo Shine, the added financial burden of the kids made it difficult to maintain Gallegos's house in Aurora.
The house had fallen into deep disrepair, with problems that included 40-year-old shag carpeting worn flat as suede, crumbling walls, a taxed electrical system, a dilapidated couch held up by 26 phone books, barely-there insulation, a broken furnace and a severe mouse infestation, Yahoo Shine reported.
Local construction workers, electricians and retailers were rallied by Meade to donate parts and participate in the labor.A team of generous contractors was formed in six days.
They repaired $80,000 worth of renovations in Gallegos's home, taking care of the most pressing problems and throwing in a new bathroom, new bedrooms, painted walls, appliances, furniture, new kitchen cabinets, counter tops, and a new air conditioning, all for good measure, according to Yahoo Shine.
To keep the makeover a surprise, Gallegos was taken to stay at another granddaughter's house under the pretense of Salazar winning one room's worth of free carpeting that needed installing.
"To keep her away, we had to tell her we found a little asbestos and needed to take care of it," Meade said.
When Gallegos was bought back home, she was greeted by the excited contractors on the front lawn.
"She was like a really precious piece of china in what looked like a herd of buffalo," Meade said."She was speechless and so relieved, like a huge weight had been lifted. She was really overwhelmed, and we were overjoyed."
"It hasn't sunk in, not yet," Gallegos told Fox 31 Denver.
Meade, who has been KBPI's popular Willie B for 20 years, is no stranger to giving, despite living paycheck to paycheck. A vintage-car enthusiast and tinkerer, he said he buys about five or six used vehicles a year, fixes them up, and donates them to local families in need, Yahoo Shine reported.
"It's just stuff I do on my own dime," he said.
Apart from helping Salazar this Christmas, Meade has also helped a young girl learn how to drive and helped spring for airfare for a young man who wanted to introduce his new baby to its faraway grandparents.
Meade was part of an accident in 2005 when a car fell off of a trailer on top of him, and he had to be resuscitated. He attributes his generosity to the accident.
"I guess I just look at life a little bit differently now," he said. "I want to make people's lives a little better."