Woman who gives money towards friend's gas, food and bills rewarded
An interview with the principal at St. Alban's Episcopal Day School in Harlingen isn't real, rather part of an elaborate act to surprise Lucy Mireles, a long-time teacher at the school, with the Pay it 4Ward $400 prize.
Lucy, who TMs affectionately known as Ms. Rod, is told by staff to meet in the principal's office where the so-called interview with Action 4 News is taking place.
"Lucy has been at our school for over 32 years," Mary Katherine Duffy, principal said. "Ms. Rod's perfect to talk about the new school year."
Action 4's Ryan Wolf asks to speak with Lucy. "Hello there," he said to her. "I TMm Ryan Wolf with Action 4 News."
"Hello," Lucy said.
She doesn't know it yet but her co-worker, Sylvia Guerrero, is hiding in a room next door to thank her for her incredible friendship and support over the years.
"Everything is so exciting," Lucy says about the school during the "interview" with Ryan.
He breaks the news why Action 4 News is really there.
"It's not just to talk about the new school year," he said. "We're also here because of you."
Lucy appears confused.
"Okay?" she uttered.
Ryan calls for Sylvia to come into the room.
"Come on in," he said.
"I just wanted to tell you that you've been really good to me... For many, many years," Sylvia tells Lucy.
"It's meant a lot and I just don't have the words how to express it from the bottom of my heart. You've always been there for me, hearing me out and financially and everything. From Pronto Insurance and Action 4 News... Here's $400 to Pay it 4Ward."
"Thank you," Lucy responded. "I'm speechless!"
Ryan further explains how the Pay it 4Ward prize is awarded to people for their selfless acts of kindness.
Sylvia TMs husband lost his job with the company he TMs been working at for decades.
And with her limited summertime hours at the school, it TMs been hard for Sylvia to make ends meet.
"They've fallen on hard times and you've been there," Ryan shared with Lucy. "You've been the rock."
Sylvia shares how her friend never thinks twice about giving money towards her gas, food or other bills.
Lucy gives Sylvia a hug while fighting back her tears.
Their friendship dates back years, as evident in a 2002 school yearbook photo.
Lucy says she couldn't stand by and watch her friend suffer during these tough economic times.
"I feel like I could not go home and have a nice evening if I know that she's hurting," Lucy said. "It just comes from my heart."
She credits her late father, Salvador Cortez, for her kind nature to give.
"My mom said if, 'I would have the money of all the people owed him, I'd be rich,'" she explained. "I guess I got it from him."
Domingo Reyna shares why Lucy is so deserving of the $400 Pronto prepaid MasterCard.
"You pretty much show by true friendship, by doing acts of kindness without expecting anything back, that this is what the Pay it 4Ward program represents," he said.
Lucy is stunned to be the recipient.
"It's something that I was never expecting," she said.
But she's forever grateful to share this moment of happiness with her true friend.