Being a mother is no easy task as any parent can tell you, but a great-grandmother known as Ms. Ella from Las Vegas, Nevada, didn’t stop there. Indeed, she went on to bring up her grandchildren and is raising six great-grandchildren, too. And when the kindly senior fell on hard times, the community noticed her good heart – and prepared the biggest surprise for her.
Throughout her tribulations, Ms. Ella always kept her faith, and raised her surrogate children to do the same. But that belief system was no doubt tested when the great-grandma encountered a run of bad luck at the worst possible time. And in winter things came to a head for her extended family, with devastating results.
To be more specific, bills mounted up, and Ms. Ella struggled to make ends meet. Indeed, things were so tough that she didn’t know whether the family would even manage to celebrate Christmas. But the kind hearted senior’s wishes were about to become true, thanks in part to a friend from another state.
Ms. Ella, who is a military widow, has dedicated her life to her loved ones. But everyone needs a helping hand occasionally – and this benevolent great-grandmother was long since overdue one after all the good she’s done for her family.
Ms. Ella has no local friends to rely on and does almost everything herself. All of her income goes on feeding her great-grandchildren and paying the bills. But when her house fell into disrepair, it left Ms. Ella with even more problems. Fortunately, there were people looking out for her from afar.
You see, Ms. Ella has the emotional support of her Californian best friend, Alicestine “Ms. Alice” Miller. Unfortunately, the geographical distance limits contact, and they don’t get to meet up often. Nevertheless, the pair have remained firm friends. In fact, it was Miller that helped arrange her bestie’s incredible surprise.
Unable to do much to physically help Ms. Ella, Miller contacted someone who could: the Fox5 Surprise Squad. For its part, the network’s viewership can nominate people they think deserve a special act of kindness for their good work. Fox5 subsequently send a surprise team to the chosen nominee and offers them a helping hand.
Meanwhile, the Fox5 Surprise Squad works with a number of different organizations to conduct its impressive work. United Nissan in Las Vegas, American Credit Union and Albertsons Vons all work together as a team with a common goal. According to the network, they want to “enhance luck and happiness” for the nominee who has given so much for others.
And so Miller sent the Fox5 Surprise Squad a letter all about Ms. Ella’s selfless struggling friend. And in the subsequent video clip uploaded onto the channel’s official YouTube page in December 2018, it revealed what the correspondence said. Reporter Cassandra Jones reads out, “Dear Fox5 Surprise Squad. I need your help with helping a deserving friend of mine in dire need.”
“My friend Ms. Ella is a… great-grandmother raising six great-grandchildren by herself. They’re her life,” the letter continues. Ms. Alice can also be heard on the video saying, “She cooks, she cleans for the children, she’s truly just a good person.” However, she reveals Ms. Ella’s financial support is limited and inadequate.
“The help she receives each month is just not enough to get by,” Jones quotes. Miller explains to Fox5 via telephone that she’s tried her best to help her friend whenever possible. For example, one problematic issue for Ms. Ella was her house’s leaking water system.
In the video, Miller explains, “[Ms. Ella] needs someone to help her with the water at the house. That bill is $900 and she pays $200 a month on it – and it’s not going down. Sometimes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you know?” Indeed, Ms. Alice hoped the Fox5 Surprise Squad would be that light.
Without intervention, Ms. Ella and her great-grandchildren wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas. But the great-grandmother’s plight and her close friendship with Ms. Alice touched the Fox5 team. As a result, they decided to visit Ms. Ella. Her friend only hoped she could witness the moment the surprise team arrived.
“I just wish I could see her if you guys knocked on her door, oh my God,” Ms. Alice chuckles in the video. She continues, “I want her to know that someone cares.” And soon Ms. Ella discovers that someone is indeed looking out for her when Fox5 arrives at the house and Jones introduces herself.
The minute Ms. Ella sees who’s on her doorstep, she becomes incredibly emotional and breaks down in tears. And when Jones tells the great-grandma that they got a letter from someone, she instantly knows who. Ms. Ella says mouths the name “Alice” through her tears, continuing, “We’re like sisters, she checks on me all the time.”
As Jones holds the crying Ms. Ella, she announces the Fox5 Surprise Squad’s first gift. Reporter Jones continues, “Guess what? [Miller] is here today.” At first, the sobbing senior doesn’t believe her ears, but then her friend appears from around the corner. She embraces both Jones and Ms. Ella before heading inside to talk.
After settling down, Jones asks Ms. Ella about her great grand-children and how she feels about them. She replies, “Oh Lord, they mean so much to me. They’re my heart, I had to rescue them.” However, through her tears, Ms. Ella admits that she can’t face a conversation about their past.
“I don’t want to go all into it,” the emotional great-grandmother says through her tears. Meanwhile, explains how she felt helpless too, unable to do anything but watch Ms. Ella suffer. The former exclaims, “And God knows what she’s going through, because she’s hurting and I’m hurting because I can’t help her.”
Miller then reveals how desperate the situation was for Ms. Ella and how things were on a knife edge. She says, “By the time she’s paid for the house, the car, insurance and fed six kids, everything is gone.” Furthermore, denying her great-grandchildren Christmas was heart-breaking for Ms. Ella.
In the video, Ms. Ella elaborates, “I hate to say [we aren’t celebrating Christmas this year]. I say, ‘grandma will see about it.’ I’ve got to pay the bills, you know, first.” But her friend Miller’s letter got through to the people who could help. The Fox5 Surprise Squad then bring some kindly folk with them who are instrumental in turning Ms. Ella’s situation around.
To be specific, Jones introduces Ms. Ella to representatives of two different companies. Bob Cleveland is from the charity Rebuilding Together, which works to renovate and repair buildings in the community. Between 1988 and 2018, the organization’s renovated over 210,000 structures and has over four million volunteers assisting it.
In addition, Beckie White of Aqua Plumbing accompanie the Surprise Squad. And together, they promise Ms. Ella they will help get her home into shape in their own special ways. For Cleveland’s part, his work will focus on repairing the damage to the great-grandma’s property. And he describes what he would do on the video.
“We’re going to take care of all the water issues in the yard,” Cleveland tells Ms. Ella. He continues, “We’re going to fix the leak in the yard [and] we’re going to replace the toilets.” Then White adds, “We’re going to pay the balance of the water bill for you, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Ms. Ella can’t believe what she’s hearing and her mouth drops open in surprise. Then she bursts into tears of joy as she shares hugs with both [Miller] and White. And touchingly, Ms. Ella’s face lights up with a smile of genuine happiness.
“I feel good,” Ms. Ella says, laughing heartily. But that’s just the beginning of the Surprise Squad’s gifts, as Jones subsequently reveals. In fact, they’ve also arranged a treat for both her and Ms. Alice. Indeed, Fox5 have arranged a spa day for both women while the team fixes up the senior’s house.
“We want you guys to be able to enjoy each other, reconnect, catch up, spend some time together,” Jones says. And when the reporter leads Ms. Alice and Ms. Ella outside, they discover they’ll be travelling in style. Indeed, a limousine is waiting for the women, driven by a chauffeur holding a beautiful bunch of flowers.
As the limousine takes the ladies away, work begins on Ms. Ella’s property in earnest. Jones says, “Our whole squad is here, even station management. Everybody’s getting their hands dirty, pitching in to give those kids the best Christmas possible.”
Furthermore, Artie White of Aqua Plumbing says Ms. Ella’s future water bills should be much lower. He adds, “She doesn’t need to be spending all her money on her water bill [and it] should go down somewhere between $35 and $40.” Additionally, the Surprise Squad have even replaced Ms. Ella’s weathered furniture.
Meanwhile, RC Willey Home Furnishings swings by to supply Ms. Ella with some lovely new home décor. And by the time they’re finished, the great-grandmother’s house looks like an entirely new property. Then the only thing left is to wait for the lady of the hour to come home and witness the Surprise Squad’s incredible work.
After a day in the spa, a refreshed Ms. Ella arrives back to a fanfare of applause from the crowd assembled in her front yard. Fox5 Surprise Squad newcomer Faven Kay meets the great-grandmother, who states she enjoyed her spa day and even got her hair dyed. Kay then informs Ms. Ella, “We fixed the water leak concerns for you, so you don’t have to worry about that.”
“And we really wanted to spread a little extra Christmas cheer, because you so deserve it,” Kay continues. And with that, the team leads Ms. Ella inside to see what changes they’ve made. But when she walks through the door, the great-grandma is so overcome with emotion she has to sit down and falls into the nearest chair.
“It’s so beautiful,” an emotional Ms. Ella says through her tears of joy. However, the changes go far beyond the living room, as Kay explains to the stunned great-grandmother. And as Ms. Ella catches her breath, Kay tells her, “As you can see, you have some new furniture and a new TV.”
“Ms. Ella, as you can see, there are also some Christmas presents for all your great-grandkids,” Kay continues. “Along with $500 gift cards for each and every one of them, so you can take them Christmas shopping.” And the reporter highlights a gift on the tree for Ms. Ella herself, too.
Kay adds, “And we know you like to cook, right? There’s a $500 Albertsons gift card there for you to make that happen for them.” Yet even being showered with all these gifts, Ms. Ella’s mind is still on her great grandchildren. She marvels, “Oh, they are going to have a fit.”
Fox5’s Kay has one question for Ms. Ella: how will this Christmas be different from the previous one? And the latter responds, “The [children] can get what they want and then we’ve got pretty furniture. It was a lot. It will be so different and so happy.” And then comes the Surprise Squad’s final treat.
Kay introduces a friend of the network who’s very keen to meet Ms. Ella: Don Forman, co-owner of United Nissan. He asks for a hug from the big-hearted great-grandmother as soon as he sees her and then explains his presence. He’s there to present her with something concealed in the red gift box he carries.
“So, from our family at United Nissan, we’ve got a little gift for you,” Forman says. “We thought this would be fantastic for the holidays.” He subsequently draws Ms. Ella’s attention to the package he placed on the table. He then gestures her to open it and explains its contents as she does.
“So, we’re going to pay for your house for the next year,” Forman then announces. And Miller looks just as surprised as Ms. Ella, who can’t believe what’s happening. She hides her face in her hands before reaching out to the man for another hug. Ms. Ella then adds, “Thank you,” followed by Miller, who says, “That is so wonderful!”
Then when Ms. Ella’s great-grandchildren return home, they can’t believe what’s happened. They look around the house open-mouthed at all the new furniture, then head straight to their great-grandma for a hug. Then, one of the children says of Christmas, “It’s not about the presents, it’s about the love in your family.”
And as for the Surprise Squad, they just feel blessed to have been able to help Ms. Ella. Forman adds, “She has love pouring out of her, she lights you up inside. And every word she was saying, I was tearing up because she’s just real, she’s loving and she’s fantastic.”