RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Time for this week's "Act of Kindness" where I give someone three hundred dollars and they choose someone or some group in need and "pay it forward". The rules are: it can't be a relative and we have to pass it on within one hour. This week our caring caller reached out to a family that suffered a heart wrenching loss.
"The family really has a huge need," said Mary Fleming. "It's been very rough for her."
Mary Fleming says her dear friend Denise Snipes has been dealing with unspeakable pain.
"Kind of numb. In a state of shock due to the circumstances, not being a natural death," said Mary. "She lost her daughter back in May due to domestic violence."
It was the afternoon of May 13 when Denise's daughter Crystal was shot to death at her Chesterfield home by her ex boyfriend, who then shot himself. Crystal was preparing to take her young kids to a birthday party.
"The two children were left behind, 2 and 6, two little boys and it's just a huge need," she said.
Crystal's parents Dan and Denise are now raising their grandsons.
"She is currently working 3 jobs - part time jobs to maintain," Mary added. "They're managing, as Denise says by the Grace of God."
Today Mary wants to bless her friend with an Act of Kindness. The friends have planned to meet at Fridays on West Broad Street.
"She thinks we're having lunch, which we are," Mary said.
As we walk next door to the restaurant, Mary tells me Crystal had battled serious medical problems but was doing much better, so she was stunned to attend the 27-year-old's funeral.
"You just never know that's for sure," she said.
Inside as soon as Denise spies our camera, she's curious...and oops, so is the manager.
"My name's Mike. I'm the General Manager."
Mike's happy to oblige after he and Denise learn about our "surprise."
"They kinda blew our cover," Mary said.
So Mary simply hands her friend a love offering.
"I'd like to present you with this money," Mary said.
And we all get some love in return.
"Oh well, thank you," Denise said.
Denise says the money will come in handy. She's cut back her hours to be home more with her grandson's. Their mother's murder has upended their world. She's still struggles with the emotional upheaval.
Denise Snipes: "Yeah I keep expecting her to come here and she doesn't, she can't."
Sabrina Squire: "But you have her boys."
Denise Snipes: "Yeah she left me two precious gifts; I have to hang onto to them."
They've been hanging on as best they can. Tristan's in summer school. Aiden just turned 3. Both boys have trouble sleeping.
"They say something about 'I miss mommy' and I'll say 'I miss her too.'"
Denise recently got her first tattoo, the ribbon symbolizing courage, a call to end domestic violence.
"We don't need to lose anybody," she said.
And what does she think of Mary's contribution to the cause?
Denise Snipes: "It was great."
Sabrina Squire: "Good to see a smile."
If you know someone who would benefit from an act of kindness, you can nominate that person for our special segment. E-mail "Kindness" at nbc12.com.