After mother's death, family raises funds to help her nursing aide finish schooling

Chris Wright said in 2014, he'd helped the aide who cared for his mother.

— -- In 2014, Chris Wright was on his way to church with his wife and children in Georgia when he passed a car idle on the side of the road.

It was drizzling outside and a woman, carrying a gas can, was walking in the direction of a gas station. Wright said the gas station was maybe half a mile away. He dropped his family off at church and then made his way back to find the woman.

"I said, 'Hey, are you OK? Do you need help?'" he said. "She said, 'I ran out of gas' and I felt I had to give her a ride."

He took her to the gas station, where they filled her gas can up, and then drove her back to her car; all the while the two conversed. He said the woman shared that she was going through some hard times and having financial struggles.

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"I was being tugged on the inside again and felt the Lord said, 'Whatever you have in your pocket just give it to her. She needs that,'" Wright said. "I gave her the $40 and she cried and I didn't know if I'd ever see her again. But I felt like it was what I was led to do at that point."

=Wright said he went back to church and told no one of the incident besides his wife.

Three years later, in Georgia, Chris Wright found himself in the hospital with his mother, Judy Wright, suffering from complications due to Parkinson's disease. When Judy Wright was able to finally leave the hospital, Chris Wright and his family decided to get nursing aides to help at home.

On Judy Wright's first day back home, Chris Wright said his parents called him, saying that they were really taken with one particular aide. The aide had come to the house despite not being scheduled to be there and had taken great care of Judy Wright, Chris Wright's father told him.

"My dad called me after she leaves and said, 'Hey, I got a lady that we need to use because for whatever it is, there's something different about her that I feel better when she's in the house and your mom loves her as well,'" Chris Wright said. "And I said, 'Oh, great.' I texted her and set up a time for her and I to meet to talk about the times she can care for her and what we wanted to have done."

During that first face-to-face meeting, Chris Wright did not recognize the woman in front of him. Her hair was different, he said, and he was wearing a hat. The aide's name was TunDe Hector. Then, during their talk, she relayed to him a story about a man who had helped her years ago in the rain. Chris Wright said his eyes quickly started welling with tears.

"I just looked at her and I said, 'TunDe, that was me.' And we both just start crying. And she said, take your hat off. And so I took my hat off and she said, 'It was you.' And we both, we just cried and had a moment right there," Chris Wright said.

Chris Wright said he watched Hector care for his mother with quality, respect and dignity. On July 9, Judy Wright died.

"She was the best mom that I could have ever dreamed of. She loved unconditionally," he said. "Just a loving, gentle, yet powerful woman. That's probably a good way to explain her."

The Wright family decided that instead of flowers, they'd ask family and friends to help Hector achieve a goal she had spoken often about while at their home: completing nursing school.

They put up a post on YouCaring with a goal of $1,000. Within 45 minutes, Chris Wright said the goal was surpassed. And, in less than a week, family and friends had not only shared the fundraiser on social media but had also helped raise $8,000.

Chris Wright and his family captured the moment on video when they presented Hector with the check. In tears, she thanked them.

"Lord, have mercy! ... Y'all don't know how worried, I was so worried [about] how I'm going to pay for my school. ... I'm overwhelmed!" she said.

Chris Wright said family, friends and even strangers have continued to give to the site. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised by 463 donors to help Hector's nursing-school education.

"We know that God orchestrated this whole thing and wove it together. ... We just kept saying, 'There's got to be something good that will come for this.' We just kept praying. ... It's just amazing what's been done," he said. "It's a neat thing. It's helped my wife and I, it's almost like the Lord has used all this to somewhat take some of the sting out of the grief of losing my mom."