Kind stranger gives tiny Florida widow $10,000 to help her rebuild when she loses home at age 99

A senior citizen had already been confronted with a string of improbable occurrences when Hurricane Ian sprung a surprise attack on her and obliterated all she had ever considered her own. She did not give up hope in spite of everything that happened; fortunately, a generous stranger overheard her story and gave her a wonderful gift.

Thelma Gulden, who hails from Sarasota in the state of Florida, is not an average senior citizen. She had more than her fair share of challenges throughout her life, but she always remained strong and never once wavered in the face of adversity. 

Previous few years, her everything was not simple or easy for her. In the year 2020, she was forced to say goodbye to the man who had been the love of her life for the previous 62 years—her husband. She had just begun to come to terms with the irreparable loss when she became infected with COVID-19 not once but twice, which required her to be hospitalized both times.

@charlie Her reaction 🥺😢 Thanks to y’all’s donations we were able to give Thelma $10,000. Please donate in bio ❤️🙏🏻 #fypp #trending #viral #homeless #hurricaneian ♬ original sound – Charlie Rocket ” data-type=”URL” data-id=”
@charlie Her reaction 🥺😢 Thanks to y’all’s donations we were able to give Thelma $10,000. Please donate in bio ❤️🙏🏻 #fypp #trending #viral #homeless #hurricaneian ♬ original sound – Charlie Rocket
“>Thelma Gulden | Source:

An Authentic Warrior

Thelma was also seriously affected when the worldwide pandemic let loose its full fury on the earth; yet, despite her advanced age, she was able to recover from the illness.

A little less than six weeks after that, she had a stroke and needed open heart surgery as a result of it. Not only did she emerge unscathed from that health scare, but she also established a new record at Sarasota Memorial Hospital by being the facility’s oldest patient to have the treatment.

Thelma continued to defy the odds and emerged as a resilient force in light of the most unlikely and unexpected situations. She did this in the same way as a true warrior and survivor would.

Her Numerous Journeys & Plans for the Upcoming Birthday

Thelma moved cheerfully back into her mobile home at Oakwood Manor, where she had been for almost three decades, believing that the worst was behind her. Along with the unpleasant, she had also experienced pure joy, like riding an elephant at age 98 and a helicopter at age 99.

She planned a lavish party for her 100th birthday in June 2023 and has already reserved the location, the caterer, and the musical entertainment. She also hopes to celebrate her birthday in a memorable way and meet Tom Selleck as a centenarian

The Oakwood Manor neighborhood adored Thelma for her upbeat disposition and friendly personality. She frequently enjoyed the golf cart parades with her friends and neighbors as well as played bingo, played cards, or just relaxed. She was revered by many as a living legend who was generous.

It was everything taken away from her.

However, when Hurricane Ian struck Southwest Florida in late September 2022, Thelma and a great number of other Floridians bore the brunt of the wrath of the violent storm. Within a short period of time, the optimistic and daring senior citizen had lost everything, including her home, furniture, food, clothing, and other personal possessions.

Her cherished home of 32 years crumbled before her very eyes and was no longer habitable after the destruction. While reflecting on everything that she had been through, the Florida woman who had never been married and had no children of her own said, “It’s awful. I can’t explain the feeling you have. Until it hits you, you don’t know.”

The fact that Thelma had served as a cadet nurse during World War II was a little-known fact about her. She was unlucky in that despite her years of employment, she did not receive any benefits and did not have insurance. She was given only $700 in assistance from FEMA, and she had no idea what to do or how to restore her home.

Garnering Support for Her Great-Aunt

Tracie Reuter, Thelma’s great-niece, took to social media in an effort to collect support for her great-aunt, and she wrote empathetic postings about her great-life aunt’s in order to do so. The posts focused on her great-accomplishments aunt’s in life. According to Tracie, her aunt joined the cadet nursing program in 1943, despite the fact that women were not allowed to serve in the military at that time. She went on to say:

“Oh, and this lady who lives at the poverty level, she gives money to every veterans organization because she LOVES HER COUNTRY. I’m not kidding when I say her favorite color is red, white and blue.”

Tracie included a link to a GoFundMe account in a following post, in which she pleaded with readers to contribute money so that her great-aunt could rebuild the home that had been destroyed by the fire. Tracie said in a post that “While there are SO MANY people here that still need help, I know there are organizations and people whose causes are elderly veterans.”

As of the 11th of January, 2023, the crowdfunding website had collected donations totaling more than $35,000. Tracie uploaded a video update on YouTube on October 1, 2022, in which she and Thelma reminisced on the things that they had lost while standing next to the wreckage of the mobile home that was located in the Oakwood Manor neighborhood.

An Unexpected Gift from a Caring Stranger That Will Melt Your Heart

After listening to Thelma’s harrowing account, Charlie Rocket, a well-known philanthropist, public speaker, and the founder of the charitable organization Dream Machine USA, granted Tracie’s want to have her prayers answered. When he went to see her, he was captivated by her courage, tenacity, and adventurous spirit.

Thelma shared with Charlie that one of her secret desires was to ride in a hot-air balloon, despite the fact that her ultimate goal was to recover her former residence. Charlie was pleasantly surprised by her naive desire, but he was also aware of what he needed to do in order to make her smile again. Not only did he take the former cadet nurse by surprise by giving her a gift card for a ride in a hot-air balloon, but he also handed her $10,000.

Thelma was moved to tears and had a hard time keeping her emotions in check once she found out about the touching surprise. Charlie captured the moment he met the 99-year-old woman on camera and then uploaded the video to his social media accounts, where it quickly accumulated a large number of views and comments.

@charlie Her reaction 🥺😢 Thanks to y’all’s donations we were able to give Thelma $10,000. Please donate in bio ❤️🙏🏻 #fypp #trending #viral #homeless #hurricaneian ♬ original sound – Charlie Rocket