Woman inspired by ‘Month of Giving,’ buys gifts for family that lost everything in fire

Posted at 10:12 PM, Dec 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-18 23:40:33-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Strangers met for the first time on a blustery night one week before Christmas outside of the Target in Willow Lawn.

“It’s time to pay it forward,” Zaira Botey, a mother of four, said.

Brandie Harrell, a mother of three, lost everything she owned last week when her Hanover home burned to the ground.

“I never thought I would be in a situation like this to be honest,” Harrell said.

Zaira Botey, who lives in Chesterfield, was so touched by CBS 6’s Month of Giving that she reached out to us and said she wanted to help a mom in need and buy gifts for her kids.

“It Inspired me when I was looking at the news all the good things they were doing for everyone,” Botey said.

We connected Botey with Harrell.

Melissa Christmas shopping

Zaira Botey, Melissa Hipolit, Brandie Harrell

“For people who want to do something like that for somebody they don’t even know, it’s crazy,” Harrell said.

The Christmas gifts Harrell and her husband bought for their three daughters went up in flames, so Botey and her kids found them some replacements.

“We’re shopping for her kids.  Remember Santa Claus is going to bring you presents too,” Botey told her kids.

Melissa 4

Zaira Botey, Melissa Hipolit, Brandie Harrell and kids.

Along with the gifts, were words of encouragement from Botey.

“You have to keep your head up high and have that hope,” Botey said. “I can’t thank you enough, you’re amazing, you really are,” Harrell told Botey.

Harrell also made a promise she is sure to keep.

Zaira Botey, Brandie Harrell

Zaira Botey, Brandie Harrell

“You know what, next year, watch the news, I will be here,” Harrell said.

“Paying it forward?” CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked.

“Absolutely,” Harrell said.