In July, this year, a woman received a $20,000 surprise gift for helping a lost man.
Jennifer Vasilakos a herbalist and Reiki teacher, suffering from kidney failure, but not qualified for a transplant, needed a stem cell procedure to help save her life.
While trying to raise the $20,000 needed for her treatment at an intersection in Santa Barbara, California a car stopped near her, and the driver asked for directions. At that time, Jennifer did not know who she was helping. After giving the directions she gave the driver her flyer, and he donated fifty dollars. As the car moved away, Jenifer did not realize that it was not the end of the encounter.
After an hour, the same car came towards her and stopped. The driver stretched out his hand and introduced himself as Ty Warner. Jenifer immediately recognized his name – the billionaire founder of Ty Inc., the Beanie Baby company.
He seemed to be kind and sincere. She listened to him as he repeated over and over that he was going to help her and that she need not worry any longer. He said he would send a check after he returned to his offices during the week.
Ty Warner kept his promise. On July 16 Jenifer received a package with a $20,000 check and a handwritten note from Warner that said in part, “Someone up there loves you because I was guided to meet you Saturday. I never lose my way, but fate had me lost and ask you for directions. The rest of the story I hope will be a wonderful new life for you.”
“Of course I started crying, because that’s what girls do,” Jenifer said. “I’m incredibly thankful to Ty Warner and to everyone who has supported me with love and prayer.”
The check got cleared a few weeks later, and she booked a surgical procedure at an undisclosed foreign hospital to begin hematopoietic stem cell treatment. Hematopoietic treatment takes a cell from the blood or bone marrow that can renew itself and develop into a variety of specialized cells.
“After I serendipitously met Jennifer, I further educated myself on her stem cell needs. I was shocked that this particular type of treatment wasn’t available to her in the U.S.,” Warner said in a media release. “My hope is that we can bring this lifesaving treatment to the forefront so that it can become more readily available and provide alternatives for people like Jennifer.”