When Maria Vasquez, 94, decided to leave her home for a rare outing recently, she never – in her wildest dreams – imagined what the day would bring.
Accompanied by her caretaker, Maria stopped at the bank in East Harlem, New York before stopping into Regine’s department store so Maria could purchase a pair of comfortable shoes.
The elderly shopper was distracted looking at some merchandise when, out of nowhere, a long-haired man come up behind Maria and reached straight into her shirt to swiftly grab $600 in social security money out from her bra, where she kept it so it would stay safe.
When she realized what had happened, Maria screamed for help, but the thief had already disappeared out of the store. The whole incident was caught on surveillance video
The store released surveillance images of the suspect. Word spread fast, and the anonymous robber was quickly dubbed “the worst person in New York.”
Two days later, police tracked him down at his home. The 26-year-old Brooklyn man was charged with two counts of robbery, one count of grand larceny and one count of criminal possession of stolen property.
And while the city of New York lambasted the thief, Maria was flooded with kindness and support.
The owner of Regine’s handed Maria $600 in cash to make up for what she lost. He also gave her the shoes she had intended to buy.
Felix Roque, the mayor of West New York, New Jersey presented Maria with a check for $1,000 in donations.
“You hear stories about people hurting people,” he said. “This is a story about people helping people, and it feels good.”
To make things even better, a stranger set up an online fundraiser that raised $2,000 for Maria — more than triple its goal.
Maria says she’s overwhelmed by the show of love and kindness from strangers everywhere.
Here’s the surveillance video:
This story proves there are good people in the world. Please SHARE Maria’s story with your Facebook friends!