It can be nice to dream of retirement, but for some people, that dream is very far from reality.
Unfortunately, due to life circumstances, the economy, bad luck, or a series of other events, some people are forced to work well past their retirement age. That can be hard on the body and mind, plus it’s heartbreaking to see.
Perhaps that’s why this story about a family who wanted to help one special pizza delivery woman retire resonates.
A Routine Delivery Gone Wrong
Lacey Klein and Kevin Keighron didn’t feel like cooking for their family one night, so they ordered from a Domino’s near their home in Berkeley County, South Carolina. However, around the time their pizza was due to arrive, they heard a noise outside. When they checked their front door camera, they saw a woman lying on the ground.
Alarmed, they rushed outside to discover that their delivery person, a 72-year-old woman named Barbara Gillespie, had fallen as she tried to climb the front porch step with the boxes in her hands. Keighron, who works for the local fire department, helped her up and asked if she was okay.
“I open the door, and there she is, just laying on the ground trying to get up,” Keighron recalled to Good Morning America. “She was more worried about [the food] than anything else. And I was like, ‘I don’t care about the food. I care about you.’”
Hatching a Plan to Help
Keighron and Klein knew they had to help Gillespie out. It broke their hearts to see her working so hard — and not because she wanted to, but because she had to. So they decided to share the footage of the woman’s fall and her reaction on social media. Then, they asked citizens to help them give her the biggest tip of her life.
“Our Domino’s delivery driver fell on our front porch today, and my heart just hurts for her,” Klein wrote in her post. “She’s clearly having a hard time. She was so worried about our food, but all we cared about was that she was okay. I’m so sad for her.”
The post went viral, with millions of views. Even better? The GoFundMe page the couple set up collected more than $50,000 overnight. Keighron and Klein went to visit Gillespie the next day at work, where they told her about the fund.
First, they had their daughters give her some flowers and candy. Then Klein explained what they had done. In another video posted on TikTok, Gillespie was speechless. They added her to the account, and days later, the funds swelled to more than $270,000.
“We are so beyond relieved to know that Barbara can now relax,” Klein told Newsweek. “She can spend all the time she wants with her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and not have to worry about being able to do it.”
“I thought I was dreaming,” Gillespie added. “It’s nice to know that there are people in this world who care.”
Helping Where We Can
While it’s nice to think that hard work pays off — and it can, depending on the context and circumstances — that isn’t always the case. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 75 and older workforce in America will grow by 96.5% by 2030, increasing from 8.9% in 2020 to 11.7%. That’s largely due to the economy, a lack of savings, and dwindling pensions.
It’s an economic issue, to be sure, but thanks to this story, we’re reminded there are ways we can help. Collectively raising funds for those in our community is a great start. Or if you are in a position where you employ the elderly, try to give them jobs that minimize their risk of a fall or injury.
If you’re worried about your own parents or parental figures, it’s never too early to have an open and honest discussion with them about money and savings and to assess where they’re at. Knowing and doing what you can to improve a loved one’s financial situation is the first step. Get other family members on board, look for new sources of income, and use whatever resources you have available to you.
Lastly, do what you can to start your own retirement savings plan as soon as you can. Because while this story proves there are kind people in the world, we also need to try and plan for all of our futures.
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