For many, a dollar may not mean much, but for Lindsey Foster and Maria Martinez, it made a huge impact.
After working for Baylor’s Facility Services for 15 years as a custodian in Clifton Robinson Tower, Martinez’s years of service to the Baylor community took a toll on her health. Several weeks ago Martinez suffered from a stroke. A few days later, she went into cardiac arrest three times in the same day, and was then put into an induced coma.
“It was shocking because everybody knew my grandma was hardworking and nobody was able to make my grandma stop working,” Kimberly Tello, Martinez’s granddaughter, said. “All of a sudden you hear your grandma had a stroke and it affected [us] a lot.
When Martinez’s family received the shocking news, they were determined to do whatever they could to make the trip from Eagle Pass, a town near the Mexican border, to Waco. Preparing for the trip, they realized they were going to need new tires to make the long drive, but only had $150 to spend on three used tires.
“When my mom came to see her at Providence [Hospital], she started crying, and then my grandma started crying when she saw her because it was a surprise and she thought nobody was going to come,” Tello said.
That’s when Nashville, Tenn., freshman Lindsey Foster and Martinez’s paths crossed. In March, Foster started a Waco chapter of the Dollar Club, which is a national organization that encourages individuals to donate a dollar at a time to give back to others.
“The whole idea is just to get people to give their money, to simply get one dollar, and then gather that all up and see what impact it can make on someone who is in need,” Foster said. “I wanted to try and do something in the Baylor community so that we can keep it in the family.”
After getting friends on campus involved, spreading the word to the Waco community and even starting a social media campaign, Foster was able to raise $435. While most donations came from local community members, some even came from as far as Tennessee. After hearing about Martinez’s story, Foster knew she wanted to give the money to Martinez and her family to help them pay the bills and rent they couldn’t afford to pay.
“I just feel like its important to see how much we can give and be generous in the community just because we have been given so much,” Foster said.
Foster said when she went to St. Catherine’s Center to deliver the money to Martinez and her family, she was touched by the experience.
“There were some tears [and] some emotions with it, but they were just very grateful, and it was an awesome time just to see how they responded to it,” Foster said. “To directly impact someone that way had a really cool impact on my heart.”
Martinez’s family was also deeply moved by Foster’s seemingly random act of kindness.
“It was nice, it’s still really nice,” Tello said. “It was a huge impact because it came without knowing us, it just came out of the sky. We were worried about the rent and the bills, and thankfully, because of her and her friend we were able to pay it.”
With tears streaming down her face, Martinez couldn’t express just how grateful and appreciative she was for the help she received, and what it meant for her and her family.
“Lindsey [brought] me money to pay my bills and rent because I live alone, but I say thank God because my daughter is here and she helps me,” Martinez said. “It means so much to me because I rest my mind. They help me rest my mind because I’m not thinking and worrying about the bills and the rent. They are sweet girls and the club helped me.”
Foster’s act of kindness extended much further than just helping with the bills. It left a lasting impression on Martinez’s family and now they plan on passing it forward in the future.
“When we go back to Eagle Pass, we will start another club like the one over here [that] Lindsey made, to help somebody who has the same situation as we did or a different one,” Tello said. “Its nice to help someone, especially over there. We have low income, so it’ll be nice helping out our people.”
Martinez’s journey to recovery is far from over, and she is expected to be in the hospital for weeks to come, filled with numerous doctors’ appointments and therapy. In just a few days, Martinez will be heading to the oncologist to see if she has cancer.
“So pray for me there is no cancer, because that’s more problems for my daughter and granddaughter and all my family,” Martinez said. “Thank you everybody for helping. Thank you and pray for me. I am a strong woman and I’m working too hard for 35 years.”
While, the obstacles and trials Martinez’s family has been facing are far from over, her family has stayed positive and are grateful for the support and help they have received.
“We want to thank everyone who had and still has the chance to think of us, to pray for us and to keep us in your thoughts without knowing us and only knowing a little bit of the story of my grandma,” Tello said.