South Floridians step up to help daughter, 106-year-old mother after repairman didn’t return their deposit money

(WSVN) - Earlier this week, we told you about a woman and her 106-year-old mother who gave a repairman a deposit to fix their washing machine. The job was not done, and their money is gone, but South Floridians have stepped up to lend a helping hand. 7’s Brian Entin has the uplifting update to our special report, “Repair Despair.”

Linda first introduced us to her neighbors, Ana Friedich and her mother Juana, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Juana, who has dementia, was resting in her hospital bed.

The 106-year-old, who lived in Puerto Rico nearly all her life, came to live with her daughter in this mobile home after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.

Linda Ramsack: “That’s her world in there.”

But this family’s world was turned upside down last November when a seemingly simple job turned into nearly six months of frustration.

Ana Friedich: “I started calling him, and he never answered my phone calls, and when he did, he says, ‘Do not call me anymore.'”

Ana had paid a repairman a $134 deposit for a part to fix their broken washing machine.

It may not seem like a lot of money, but it is to Ana, who is prepaying each month for her mother’s final expenses.

Linda Ramsack, neighbor: “She dipped into her mom’s funeral expense money that she’s saving and paid him the cash.”

But the work was never done, and the cash was not paid back, so we went to ask the repairman why.

John Guerrio: “Hello?”

Brian Entin: “Hi, John, my name is Brian Entin. I’m a reporter at 7News.”

John Guerrio was at his Hollywood home.

Brian Entin: “How quickly will you return the money?”

John Gerrio: “Probably within 30 days.”

Brian Entin: “Thirty days, but they have already been waiting months and say you haven’t been calling them back.”

John Guerrio: “We will call them back, and we will give them their money back.”

But, 7News viewers did not wait for the 30 days to be up to step up themselves.

Nicholas Plant, restaurant owner: “These tough times that we’re going through, we have to be here for each other, and it’s a minimal thing I could do.”

Nicholas Plant is the owner of Hungry Bear Sub Shop near Doral.

He emailed us the morning after the story aired, saying he would “love to give her the money back that she lost.”

Nicholas Plant: “The lady is 106 years old, and the daughter was saying that she had to take money out of savings for her mother’s funeral kind of broke my heart. I operate a small business here. It’s a mom and pop business, and my customers are coming in and supporting me, and it’s just something to be grateful and pay it forward.”

So, pay it forward he did.

We brought the $134 check to Ana along with another $200 from a viewer who wanted to remain anonymous.

Ana Friedich: “Oh, my God, thank you. A wonderful surprise for me. I never expect this.”

Ana also never expected this.

JC Gomez, Wellington Construction Group: “It touched home for all of the people in our organization, and we wanted to get involved right away.”

JC Gomez and the Wellington Construction Group offered to do repair work for Ana for free.

A team from the Miami company showed up to paint the cracked driveway, touch up the outside of the mobile home, and they plan on refurbishing a door.

JC Gomez: “We do something every year for somebody in the community, and this story just touched home, particularly because this lady is taking care of an elderly mother.”

An elderly mother who turns 107 years old on Tuesday, and a little extra help for the daughter who cares for her from generous South Floridians.

Ana Friedich: “I’m surprised, and I’m happy and thank you.”

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.