RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – This week we pay it forward to a woman who's always counting her blessings. When a friend counted out a three hundred dollar "Act of Kindness" she was overjoyed. But she was even more excited about the priceless blessing she received three years ago.
"She has a 3-year-old child she's been raising since he was a newborn from a complete stranger," said Dorothea Johnson. "His mom was incarcerated. She took care of him from birth and his mom later died of a drug overdose. She's had him ever since."
Dorothea tells me her friend Karen Gaiters has a heart of gold, but she could still use a little green right now.
"She had lost her job and was having a hard time, but now she's found employment so this is like a really good thing with school starting and everything," Dorothea said.
Sabrina Squire: "I have 1 hundred, 2 hundred, 3 hundred dollars for you to pass on to your good friend."
Dorothea Johnson: "Ok."
Sabrina Squire: "So, where can we find her?"
Dorothea Johnson: "Let's go this way."
We don't have to go far. Karen's apartment is steps away.
Karen Gaiters: "Who is it?"
Dorothea Johnson: "It's me Karen."
Karen Gaiters: "Hello."
Dorothea Johnson: "How are you doing? Hello Malik. We have someone here."
Dorothea Johnson: "This is acts of kindness and Ronesha called Channel 12, she couldn't be here today so I stood in for her because of what you do for so many people, the way you help people, the outstanding job you've done with Malik and this is just a kind act to you, which you've done for everybody else so ...."
Karen Gaiters: "(tears)"
Dorothea Johnson: "Look, 1,2,3, hundred dollars."
Karen Gaiters: "Thank you."
Dorothea Johnson: "You're welcome."
Karen Gaiters: "Thank you!"
Karen tells me the cash comes right on time.
"Because rent has not been paid, so it's a blessing. It's a blessing, yes," Karen said.
Karen says she always feels richly blessed and one big reason is a pint sized package of pure love.
"God blessed me with Malik," she said.
She tells me about the phone call that changed both their lives. Child protective services said an inmate gave them Karen's name, would she come pick up a three-day-old baby boy.
"'And you need to be here before 11:00.' I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. I didn't have nothing from the start. [At] 10:45 I went to MCV and I picked up my son," Karen said. "And that's my son and I love him as mine; unconditional love. Malik is my bundle of joy. Malik makes me happy. Malik keeps me alive."
Karen is in the process of getting full, legal custody of Malik.