RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We began with a bit of a bumpy ride, but Ivey Richardson agreed to get on board, after the family friend who was scheduled to take us to Tara Thomas's house couldn't get away from work. At least our next surprise is all good.
Ivey Richardson: "Hi Tara."
Tara Thomas: "Hi sis."
Ivey Richardson & Sabrina Squire: "We're with Channel 12; you're our act of kindness recipient."
Tara Thomas: "Wow. You can come in. I'm sorry."
Tara Thomas couldn't believe what her friend Tatiana Price had done.
"She sent us an email, she said you're an extraordinary person and more than deserving," Sabrina said.
Tara tells me the past year of so has brought mostly bad news.
"[I've] faced foreclosure. you name it I went through it, and it's still struggle to keep the lights on, to keep food in the house," Tara said.
It been unnerving she says, because her family's always defied the odds.
"We've stuck in there, nine years married; we made it through all the challenging times. A lot of people said we wouldn't make it through," Tara explained.
Pregnant at 14, Tara married her daughter's father Jamal at 18, he was 20 and eight years ago the couple welcomed a son.
"Good husband, good father, has always provided for us," she said.
Tara worked too, studied business, and earned a degree.
"A big accomplishment, something I did for myself for once," Tara said.
She always made time for others.
"I would drop whatever I'm doing to help a stranger. I help these homeless people out here. I would fix dinner and take them a plate," she said.
She was climbing the corporate ladder and winning performance awards, but the couple's careers collapsed with the recession and health issues.
"I'm on disability - crohn's disease. It's very painful. It causes you to be depressed, stressed, you have to take lot of medication, it has been so hard," she said.
But today, she's feeling thankful.
Ivey Richardson: "I'm gone give you something in your hand that basically shows an Act of Kindness, appreciation really, which is this $300, more than what you might have had in your pocket."
Tara Thomas: "That's true."
Ivey Richardson: "So basically from your friend Tatiana, and I gonna say from your big sister, love and always, affection always, here's this money that you know that you deserve and need, trust me. I love you."
Tara Thomas: "Thank you."
Ivey Richardson: "I'm glad she did that."
Tara Thomas: "Wow."
Tara says she believes the New Year will bring a new start for her family.
"When you start the new year off with a blessing like this," she said.
She's determined to forge ahead with the business project she's been planning awhile a charitable organization.
"Payitforward.org. I've been working on it for like maybe a year and a half. I lie to you not, but it's just that I like to give back, I really do," Tara said.