I received an email from a woman I’d not heard from in a very long time. The message brought great joy. Here’s why:
More than 10 years ago when I was a real estate broker at Sotheby’s, the receptionist asked me to take a call because she was not at her desk.
A woman said, “I’d like to see a house.”
The woman, Claudia, had her young daughter with her. After we talked for a few minutes, it was apparent the Pasadena/Altadena area was not in their price range, although Claudia explained that she had just received her degree after attending night college for 10 years.
Claudia’s dilemma moved me. Anyone going to college for 10 years while working full-time and raising a child deserved a home.
After looking at property farther and farther east of Pasadena, I finally came across a residence in Duarte. The sellers loved Claudia and her husband. Our offer was accepted.
On the day of the inspection, Claudia and I drove to the house in my car. When it came time to pay the inspector, Claudia said, “Oh, I forgot my checkbook.”
“Not a problem,” I said, writing a check.
Driving back , I told Claudia, “You’ve got to put some money away, because unexpected expenses will crop up.”
Sighing, Claudia replied, “That would be hard, Alexis. We send my parents $500 a month.”
“That has to stop immediately,” I said.
“You don’t understand. My dad had a stroke, has no income and inadequate medical attention. He and my mom live with my sister in South America. They use the money for food.”
Knowing Claudia worked at a hospital, I asked, “Why don’t you have them come here so your dad can get physical therapy?”
“Because we don’t have the money for airfare,” Claudia said.
Instead of taking Claudia to her car, I drove to my home where I called my husband before contacting American Airlines.
While I made reservations for her parents to fly here from South America using our frequent-flyer miles, Claudia wept. I put the extra charges for taxes on my credit card.
“How can I ever repay you?” she sniffled.
“Someday you’ll be in a position to help someone else. Plus, I’m writing a book. When it comes out, buy two copies. Then we’ll be even.”
Months later at my book signing, I looked up to see Claudia with two copies of “Paths to Freedom.” Speechless, I stood to hug her, tears in my eyes. Crying, she said, “My parents are here. When my dad saw the room we had for them, he cried. ”
Ten years passed. Every so often I would try to find Claudia, but I couldn’t remember her last name.
Miraculously, she found me through my website. Here is part of her email:
“Dear Alexis. Believe it or not it’s been almost a decade since I saw you at your book signing. I still remember you with much love and just recently I did the devotion at work and told them at times of hardest struggles God shows himself to me in the form of angels. One of those angels is named Alexis Powers, who helped us get a home and gifted us with her American Airlines miles so we could bring my parents here after Dad’s stroke. My parents are still living with us and we still live in the home you found for us. Our daughter is a sophomore in college.”
She went on to say how she had not forgotten her promise to one day help a young woman in need. An opportunity to do that has appeared and she has taken a woman with two children under her wing.
Not wanting readers of this column to think I am bragging, I hesitated about writing this column but several friends encouraged me to do so.
Knowing that my simple act of kindness changed a family’s life turned my real estate career into a blessing.