RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Phyllis Sawyer would be the first to say that an honest day’s work, deserves an honest day’s pay. It’s why she continues to work as a part-time housekeeper, even after retirement. But her livelihood was in jeopardy when her car broke down earlier in the year.
“It’s very stressful, it’s very strenuous because I clean homes for a living,” said Sawyer. "So all of my cleaning supplies are in the trunk of my car. If you don’t have transportation you can’t go anywhere, you can’t get to those houses.”
She took her car to the shop, and in the meantime, called the leasing office at her apartment complex to see if anyone could pick her up. Instead of reaching out to an employee, the leasing agent asked a tenant for assistance. His name was Al Ferguson.
“The arbors is over there on Forest Hill Avenue, and my car was over on West Broad Street, in the Libbie area in a garage. He came all the way over there and got me, no hesitation whatsoever,” said Sawyer.
That would be the first of many moments where Ferguson’s generosity would be on full display.
“The first two weeks the car was down, I couldn’t go out and do any cleaning and that put a hurting on the budget.”
Sawyer’s fiance has bi-weekly doctors appointments. Not making those appointments and not having the money to pay for them was out of the question. So Sawyer reached out to Ferguson once again.
“I said, ‘would you be willing to take us to the wound care doctor?’ He said, ‘absolutely, I don’t have any problem helping you guys,'" said Sawyer. "And just all of a sudden, one day he looked at me and he said, ‘how would you like to take my car and go to work tomorrow?’ I said, ‘take your car?’ Every time I had a house to clean he would give me the keys to his vehicle, and I would clean the house, come right back home and give him his keys back.”
This went on for about two months and Al never asked for a dime.
“Don’t do something for somebody and expect to get something back, because that’s not the way it should be," said Ferguson.
But Sawyer, who’s car is now out of shop, still wanted to pay him back.
“I said I’m going to call channel 12 and I’m going to see if I can get him nominated.”
Ferguson got picked and when she gave him the $300 dollar gift, he was in tears.
“They weren’t taking advantage and it’s something they needed help with and there are times where I needed help and I’ve had people help me. I think it’s only fair that when you see someone that needs help you give them help,” said Ferguson.
Neighbors became friends, and friends became family. Even Phyllis’s dog has some new grandparents in Ferguson and his wife Brenda.
“He doesn’t know them by name, Al and Brenda, we say grandma and grandpa," said Sawyer. “And when you say grandma and grandpa to Fozzy, his ears go up and he starts getting all excited and ready to go.”