After 75-year-old Rebecca Danigelis of Boston was unexpectedly fired from the job she had worked at nearly every day for 50 years, she said she felt devastated and lost until her son decided to help her embrace the adventures that she longed to do and never had time for.
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The idea snowballed into a life-changing experience for Danigelis and her son, Sian-Pierre Regis, who decided to make a film, "Duty Free," about her escapades.
"I'd never taken a day off work. I'd never been lazy," she told ABC News of her life before being let go. A current employee at the hotel where Danigelis previously worked confirmed that she was fired but did not provide details.
Danigelis added that her firing motivated her to put "joining Instagram" on her bucket list. Danigelis said she has 12 life goals that she wants to accomplish, including going skydiving and visiting her sister's grave for the first time.
Danigelis, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1968 from her hometown just outside Liverpool, England, worked as a housekeeper for more than 50 years in the hotel industry. Regis, an entrepreneur and a freelance journalist based in New York City, described his mother as "nonjudgmental."
"My mom accepts people as they come to her," he said, adding that he hopes he can learn from her in this way. "She is able to connect with everybody, she is a great listener."
"She is very obsessed with cleanliness," Regis added, which he said is partly why she loved her job. "She always says if she ever dies, make sure the house is clean before I call 911."
He continued, "I am more of a free spirit. She is very organized."
Regis said the idea to help his mother fulfill her bucket list came to him when he witnessed her distress after losing her job.
"My mom's morale was down ... It was really affecting her," he said, adding that the project also became "more about me understanding my mom."
"My mom wasn't home a lot. She was always working," Regis said of his childhood. "I was like, 'I have a little bit of cash. Let's just write out a list of all the things you couldn't do, and let's do them,' and it really was a distraction for her because of her head space."
Danigelis and Regis, who have begun to check items off the bucket list, said that for both of them, the most special thing so far has been to visit her sister's grave for the first time.
"I never got to go to my sister's funeral when she died ... I was working," Danigelis told ABC News. "And I felt so regretful that I put something so much less important ahead."
Regis said that visiting his aunt's grave was an emotional experience for both of them.
"That moment at the grave, for me, who is someone who is a workaholic and wants to get everything done, it really gave me some perspective," he said. "That, wow, you can really prioritize things in the moment that really you might regret later."
Regis said it was also special for him that his mother wanted to learn how to dance hip-hop.
"My mom raised two black children, and my mom is white, in Boston in the '80s, and she said she could never hear the beat," Regis said, adding that when they danced hip-hop together, "during that time, I was able to ask her all the questions that I never got to ask, and she could share all the stories that she never got to share."
He added that the item on her bucket list that surprised him most was skydiving, "but now that she said it, we got to do it."
Regis is raising funds to pay for all the items on his mother's bucket list and for the production costs of the film he is making about their adventures.