SPRING LAKE, Mich. — Within hours after a Spring Lake woman shared her story of walking more than an hour to work every day, strangers from all over began reaching out to help.
One of those people was a man who was so inspired by her journey, that he made a donation that could help change her life.
"Oh my god," said Samantha Turcotte, with tears in her eyes, as she opened the generous gift Wednesday morning. "I can't believe it."
On Monday, 13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with Turcotte, learning about how she had been walking more than three miles or an hour and a half to work every day, after an accident that wasn't her fault, left her without a car in early February. It was one of her co-workers that tipped off the news.
"I was never really wanting to ask people for money," she said.
Turcotte said so many people reached out to help her after seeing her story, and even if they couldn't donate money, they wanted to help give her rides to work or even just support, and for that she is extremely grateful.
"It's been really nice," she said, "but I never expected anything from people."
"I just kept trying to stay strong, knowing that there are good people out there," she added, "you've just got to be able to wait until they reach you."
Turcotte said in sharing her story, she never anticipated money, or charity, but instead, she just wanted share her experience in hopes of inspiring others who might fall on hard times.
Instead, she was the one who inspired so many.
"When I saw her with those two kids, and I saw her smile, I said, this is a woman who is really living the role of mother, and she loves her children," said a man from Walker, who asked to remain anonymous.
"She couldn't do that hour and half walk in the ice and snow if she didn't have the love in her heart for those two kids," he added.
The afternoon after seeing her story, that man came to the WZZM news station, asking us to pass along a generous donation to Turcotte.
"You're broadcast peaked my interest, and I thought, here I am sitting here, with no worries in the world," he said. "Your story about her opened up my heart by presenting the predicament that this lady was in, and I said I've gotta do something."
The gentleman asked us to deliver a check to Turcotte for $10,000. On the subject line read "love." She opened it the next day, on Wednesday morning.
"No..." Turcotte said, with her jaw dropped and tears falling from her eyes. "This is not real!"
She couldn't believe it.
"I actually just had someone from a dealership get a hold of me and say that if I could come up with some money, they'd have a vehicle for me," Turcotte said, holding her face in her hands in disbelief. "And now I should actually be able to get something that doesn't require a lot of fixing, because that was one of the struggles I was having."
And although he didn't want to be involved, the generous donor had this message for her, saying, "Samantha, I know it's been a trauma for you, but I want you to know that there are people out there in the world who hold you very sacred. Jesus loves you, and God made us all to love one another."
"I know I don't know you, but I still love you, and I love what you represent," he added, "and I can see that you are a great woman, and a great mother."
With a car, Turcotte said she'll again be able to easily get to work, see her 7-year-old son again, and hopefully make it to her daughter's upcoming choir concert.
"I feel like my insides are jumping," she said, with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes.
"I think to myself quite often that I am so blessed," said the anonymous donor, "and that I should share that blessing both physically and financially with those in need."
"My goal in life, every day, is to bring a smile to somebody's face," he added. "If I've done that, then my day is complete."
And there's no doubt that he certainly put a smile on Samantha Turcotte's face.
"To this wonderful person," she said, getting choked up, "thank you. This means so much."
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.