Pay It Forward: A longtime caregiver is suprised by a gift of kindness

Pay It Forward

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- At KLFY News 10, we want to take the opportunity to give back to the community, so we’ve teamed up with Bob Giles and Giles Automotive to do just that. 

We go out into the community to find a good Samaritan and then we give that person $500 in cash.

We then challenge them to “Pay It Forward” by giving that money away to someone truly deserving.

Wearing masks and taking precautions, we did a new edition of Pay It Forward since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our area. We found a lady who knew several peopl she could help pay it forward to.

We asked Marlene Lucas, “Have you heard of our program called Pay It Forward?”

Marlene Lucas replied, “I like pay it forward. I haven’t heard about it, though,” he said.

News 10’s Sylvia Masters said, “We’ll explain how it works. We find somebody random and we ask them if they can think of anyone that could use a helping hand.”

Bob Giles explained, “I’m Bob Giles and in this is $500 and so what we want to do is give it to you and you pay it forward to someone you know that’s in need that could use a helping hand, that could use $500. Can you think of somebody?”

Marlene Lucas knew exactly who she’d select.

“They’re right across the street from me. It’s an old woman who’s 93 years old who has round-the-clock sitters that could probably really use that,” she said.

Marlene was talking about one of her neighbors, Juliette. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach her. So, Marlene thought about another one of her neighbors, Tom. Marlene said Tom is always a helping friend who could use a helping hand.

 “There’s a man across the street. His name is Tom. Tom had a brain injury a long time ago. He lives by himself. He works for minimum wage. He really is a hard-working guy,” She explained. “He could use the money. He really tries hard. He has a really really good heart and he helps a lot of people.”

Marlene has known Tom for 18 years. So, off we went to meet Tom Whitley at his home.

We explained to Tom that we met Marlene in the Albertson’s grocery parking lot.

“I’m going to give you the envelope to pay it forward to him,” Giles said.

“Pay it forward. You know what that means, Tom? That means you’re receiving a gift right now from me,” she said. “I’m giving it to you and that means that all the times you go around here and you mow the lawn, and you go over there and you fix Ms. Liz’s TV or I call you and I got something in the attic and I can’t get it down and you come.

That’s pay it forward because you can’t pay it forward with money. You can only pay it forward with your heart.”

Tom said he was overjoyed. “I haven’t seen this in a while. Thank you.”

It was moment both Tom and Marlene will always remember.

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