It happened April 1, but it was no joke. That's the day Evelyn Heller, 100 and partly deaf, defended herself in a Palm Desert, CA, courtroom against an eviction notice. Her landloard, Deep Canyon Desert LLC, wanted her to move out because she had loud arguments with her daughter and her apartment was a mess. The judge agreed with the landlord and evicted Heller, who said she had no money and didn't want to burden on her grandchildren. "They don't have room for me," she said.
The Desert Sun / USA Today
Heller's eviction was front page news in The Desert Sun, and dozens of readers called to help. Many offered small donations. A local nursing home offered to let her skip their waiting list. A man from Georgia offered to let her use his spare bedroom. And Congressman Paul Ruiz introduced her to Adult Protective Services, which helped her find a new apartment. But could she afford it? Yes, thanks to a gift from millionaire philanthropist Tony Robbins. He offered her $1,000 each month for the next two years. Why? "I wanted her to not have to worry forever," he said. "At this stage in her life, it's a joy for me to give her that sense of stability and security."