Thieves have a certain air of mystery about them, a sense of excitement and adventure. We love to hear tales about Billy the Kid and Frank Abagnale Jr.
We adore the idea of a larger-than-life character pulling one over on society at large. How else to explain the perennial popularity of crime capers and heist movies?
But if we like stories about thieves and shysters, we certainly don’t like to encounter them ourselves. In fact, the arrival of a crook into our lives can often spell disaster.
A Richmond, Virginia, woman has experienced that truth firsthand. Teresa Steele has lived in the same house in Church Hill, a historic district of Richmond, for more than a dozen years.
Recently, she became pregnant. And as happens with many mothers in the third trimester, she ended up on bed rest to preserve both her health and that of her unborn child.
It was during this period that something horrible happened: Thieves broke open her air-conditioning unit and stole the copper tubing within.
— WTVR CBS 6 Richmond (@CBS6) October 25, 2018
“Someone stole copper from my HVAC unit outside. I called insurance and they wouldn’t cover it,” Steele explained to WTVR.
“They did it to take the copper and sell it for a few dollars. I don’t have $6,000 to get a new system.”
More than a mere discomfort-causing inconvenience, the lack of proper heating and cooling caused an almost insurmountable issue for Steele. She began to wonder if the hospital would allow her to take her newborn home once the little one arrived.
“I don’t want to bring a baby home and it’s cold and have social services take them from me,” she said. So Steele decided to turn to CBS 6 Problem Solvers, a human-interest segment aired by WTVR that helps people while providing uplifting stories.
Soon after the segment aired on Oct. 24, calls began pouring in. “My phone’s going crazy,” Steele said.
“People were sending me messages and saying stuff like, ‘We’re willing to help.’ And it was just bringing tears to my eyes.”
Bobby Robinson was one of the people who wanted to help, but he didn’t call first. When the owner of River City Heating saw the segment, his wife told him he ought to help the woman.
So Robinson simply arrived at her house the next morning with a new HVAC unit. “What goes around comes around, so one day I might be in need of help and hopefully there will be help for me,” he said.
Even the utility company got involved. Rob Richardson of Dominion Energy explained, “We were able to determine that our customer, Teresa Steele, qualifies for Dominion Energy’s Energy Share program.
“Immediately, we’re going to be able to help her pay her energy bill. Long-term, we’re going to be able to help her pay her bill by making sure her home has the proper weatherization.”
A thankful Steele now has a warm home that will welcome her new little bundle. “You never know who’s out there listening to you,” she said.
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