Heart-Melting Moment as 82-Year-Old Walmart Employee With Cane Meets Good Samaritan Who Raised $120K to Pay off Her Medical Debt
"It broke my heart to see this elderly woman having to work."
Elizabeth Rizzo saw an 82-year-old woman working at an Arizona Walmart, she wondered why. "She was leaning on a shopping cart with her cane inside the cart. It broke my heart to see this elderly woman having to work," said Rizzo. The employee, Carman Kelly, told Rizzo she was working to pay off $10,000 in medical debt and only had $50 in her bank account, So Rizzo made a TikTok video about her situation.
"I started filming. I wasn't even thinking," she said. "I just felt moved." At the same time, Rizzo started a GoFundMe campaign to help the older woman pay off her debt. "The amount she said was ten thousand," Rizzo told local station KPHO. "And I said, 'Perfect, I think we can do that.'" Rizzo's first video has since been viewed more than 15 million times, and the GoFundMe campaign has raised far more than its original goal. Read on to find out what happened to the two women next.
In 24 hours after she posted the initial video, Rizzo raised $5,000. She recorded another TikTok video to give Kelly the news. "You're their new grandma!" Rizzo told her. "Will you be able to retire after this?" "I hope so!" said Kelly. "I was surprised at the amount we were able to fundraise," Rizzo told Today.com. "I was really shocked, but I believe in the goodness of people and I believe if you touch their heart, in some way, they'll come together."
The TikTok went viral, and the donations kept coming. "With the second video, it just went crazy," said Rizzo. When Rizzo told Kelly the total amount raised—more than $129,000—the older woman became emotional. "There isn't enough words to tell you how I feel," she told Rizzo. "It isn't just about me, it's what the meaning of all this is and I really feel that. It's about joy." Said Rizzo: "I never dreamed this would happen. I think this is something not just for Carman, but for all of us too, to carry on in the world to do good."
Kelly has become a kind of foster grandmother to Rizzo, who lost her own grandmother at a young age. "My grandmother died when I was 15 and she was my rock," Rizzo told Today.com. "I always wished I had my grandmother growing up. You know, Carman is my new grandmother. I didn't know it would take until I was 68 years old to get my grandma back." "We have to do small and random acts of kindness for each other," she added. "It's not about money. It's about the spirit of giving and caring for each other."
Now that Kelly's medical debt has been wiped out, she can afford not to live alone. She no longer has to worry about falling and not being able to get back up, she told KPHO. "Thank you to the people that have done this for me," she said. "I mean, it couldn't have come at a better time." Kelly still plans to keep her job at Walmart because she enjoys it. She just plans to cut back on her hours. She also hopes to buy a new house.
Followers of the GoFundMe campaign reacted to its success with joy. "I started bawling my eyes out," one Walmart customer said. "I am so excited for her." "I live near the Apache Junction Walmart and have been greeted by Carmen many times," one viewer said. "She is always so cheerful & absolutely deserves this! Thank You!!"
@rustywarrenknockersupgal #walmartgofundme #walmartfundraiser #carmen #https ♬ original sound – Rusty Warren