MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Paying it forward was taken to a new level when a stranger helped save an elderly widower's cat just before the man's only companion was put to sleep.
Living with his three-year-old cat, Itty Bitty, eased Steven's loneliness after his wife passed away. He was devastated when he learned that his furry friend had a urinary blockage that would be fatal without surgery.
It was difficult for Steven to save $200 every year for Itty Bitty's annual trip to the vet, so he wasn't sure what to do when he was told the cost of the surgery.
"The vet told me it was gonna be over a thousand dollars to have the procedure done, and I just didn't have it," he said.
He went home with Itty Bitty and the MSPCA showed up at this door the next day. They suggested that he "do the humane thing" and put his cat to sleep.
"As they left I was kinda in tears and didn't know what to do. I called a bunch of numbers, called Tufts, I ended up calling Tufts twice," he said.
He decided he would have to take Itty Bitty to Tufts to be put down. While waiting in line at the hospital, a stranger approached Steven and offered to pay for Itty Bitty's surgery.
"Some guy just came up behind me and said 'I heard your story' and 'put it on my credit card.' I don't know who the guy was," he said.
The feline's surgery ended up costing $650, and the generosity did not stop there.
Another stranger at the hospital gave the man who paid for the surgery $100; he in turn passed the extra cash on to Steven and told him that he would need it for the medicine and future care of Itty Bitty.
"I'd just like to thank this guy and say it's unbelievable, this act of kindness and generosity. And I hope everything turns out okay for his critter," Steven said.
Itty Bitty got a second chance at life as a kitty. His surgery at Tufts went well and he's expected to make a full recovery.
"Now, he looks as happy as can be," Steven said, as Itty Bitty fell asleep on his lap.