Less than one day after Fox 9 News shared the story of a financially strapped mother who became a victim of thieves while visiting her sick child, the Twin Cities community has rallied to help her recover.
Shortly after reporting that all four tires were stolen from a vehicle parked at the Ronald McDonald House, the phones lit up with people wanting to help -- and the overwhelming response led to results.
In just 24 hours, Kelly Charging-Hatlen went from crying tears of sorrow to tears of joy. On Wednesday, she returned from visiting her son, Cash, at Children's Hospital to find her mother's SUV on blocks in the Ronald McDonald House parking lot. The brand new tires the family had cobbled together $1,200 to purchase so that grandma could lend a hand were gone -- and that wasn't all.
"The rotors, I believe, were damaged. The front bumper is cracked. There's something else wrong with the front end," Charging Hatlen told Fox 9 News. "Of course, it will probably need an alignment."
The theft was another addition to a long list of things that haven't gone as planned for Charging-Hatlen, who has been stayed at the Ronald McDonald House for nearly two years while her son -- who has been hospitalized in the Twin Cities since he was one month old -- receives treatment.
"I didn't know what to do," she admitted. "I didn't even want to come in and tell my mom."
Yet, what a difference a day makes.
"You do lose faith in humanity when you see things like this, but when you see how the community is, it doesn't even enter your mind anymore," Charging-Hatlen said. "I'm just filled with joy, filled with happiness."
Although she never asked for anything, offers to help started pouring in after the story aired.
"I didn't expect any of this," Charging-Hatlen said. "I really didn't, and those are the best gifts -- are the ones you don't expect from anybody."
D.J. Raduenz is a third-generation car guy whose grandfather started Stillwater Motors almost a century ago. He says that family is everything, and after watching the news on Wednesday night, he called the Ronald McDonald House to offer his services free of charged.
"I was compelled to help," he said.
Raduenz plans to pick up the vehicle on Friday and hopes to have it back to the family by that same afternoon, and the North Dakota-native said she won't let the actions of a few bad apples blind her from seeing the best the Twin Cities has to offer.
Charging-Hatlen also wanted to extend thanks to everyone for their generous offers to help.