Shujana Anthony is just one of the millions of Americans out of work because of coronavirus-related business closures.
The Los Angeles-based waitress worked at Rosa Mexicano restaurant, but is now unemployed, along with the rest of the Rosa Mexicano waitstaff.
Anthony told CNN she did not know how she would be paying her $1,100 April rent bill, like so many others in her shoes.
“When you’re scared, you don’t see nothing but fear,” Anthony told CNN in a Wednesday interview.
But the following day, Anthony was brought back for a second interview with CNN, this time, to hear some unexpected good news hailing all the way from Illinois.
A woman named Tami Vaughn had watched Anthony’s interview from her home in Illinois and was moved to call CNN, offering to pay for a month of Anthony’s rent.
The two women were strangers, but Vaughn told CNN she was touched by Anthony’s story and felt compelled to help.
“I was just moved by what she’s going through,” Vaughn told CNN. “And I know so many people are going through the most at this time.”
An unsuspecting Anthony was on a video call with CNN’s Erin Burnett, who told her the good news that her April rent was covered.
Shock and a wide smile crossed the waitress’ face as she realized a total stranger from across the country wanted to help her.
“Shut up!” an incredulous Anthony said. “I’m very grateful. Thank you Miss Vaughn, I really appreciate it.”
“I’m a little shocked right now and overwhelmed, but yet super grateful,” she said.
Vaughn did not wish to appear on television, but did leave a note for Anthony, which Burnett read on-air.
“I just wanted to help, even if it’s just a little bit,” Vaughn’s note read.
“And maybe,” Vaughn continued, “she can pay it forward, even if it’s a year from now, and to whomever she wants.”
“Just spread kindness. I hope it helps her in any way.”
Anthony readily agreed, saying she was eager to figure out ways right now that she could pay kindness forward to others.
“I can’t sit and be sad,” she said, a mantra so many Americans need to hear.
“I need to take this opportunity to think, ‘What can I build for those who don’t know what else to do?'”
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