Pay it 4Ward- Woman gets rewarded for saving neighbor's home

Mary Gonzales

Every time Mary Gonzales drives down North Vista Del Sol Drive she is reminded of just how thankful she is to still have her home.

"I was afraid, said Gonzales. Where am I going to go live... Ashamed also because it's such a nice home and to just let it go."

Behind on her mortgage and suddenly out of work, Mary feared losing her home in 2008.

But somewhere between the foreclosure notices and mounting bills, her next door neighbor Minnie Contreras stepped in with cash, prayer and hope.

"I felt like the luckiest person in the world." said Gonzales. "A good three or four months... She just said give me your account number, I'm going to deposit that money."

That money helped to get Mary Gonzales over the hump and she TMs always wanted to say a special thanks.

"I don't want to show my emotion but deep down inside... I am very emotional, said Gonzales. I am very grateful that there is something out there to Pay it 4Ward."

Minnie works at the Loaves & Fishes homeless shelter in Harlingen.

She had no idea about Mary TMs $400 nomination on behalf of Pronto Insurance, the income tax division and Action 4 News.

Ryan: "I TMm looking for Minnie.

Minnie: I think she's gone sir.

Ryan: Are you Minnie?

Minnie: She's not here.

Ryan: Are you Minnie Contreras?

Minnie: Minnie's not here... Vera's here... Hey Mary!"

It's not until Minnie recognizes her neighbor's face that she eventually lets her stunned guard down.

Mary: "Words can't express how I feel for you... You've helped me out so much... When I lost my job, you were there to make my house payments. You paid my utility bills... You gave me money for groceries... I'm going to pay you $400... Put out your hand.

Minnie: I'm touched... I'm touched... I just did it out of love for her. She's a great neighbor... I could do it and I wanted to help. She could not lose her home. It was not an option."

Mary: You don't know how much this means to me! You being my neighbor. I love you."

Her co-workers and her boss, Bill Reagan, were touched.

Bill: Everyday... Day in and day out... She deals with all of our clients. A lot of them are people who are in trouble and sometimes kind of rough characters. She treats them all with dignity and respect."

Mary never expected to be paid for her kindness.

Helping others in need, she said, is just the right thing to do.

Minnie: Whatever you give to people you're going to get it back in one way or another. When we do positive things for anybody... It comes back."

Ryan: Now that the shock is done and the money's in your hand... What was your reaction when you saw me come in... You didn't want to be Minnie did you?

Minnie: No.... [laughing]... what was that? Minnie's not here. [laughing] I just don't like publicity."

Ryan: Well, now you know why Mary's here.

Mary: I wanted to Pay it 4Ward!"

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