Birthday party thrown for 84-year-old woman who evacuated during Harvey

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84-year-old flood victim given birthday party, Deborah Wrigley reports. (KTRK)

Two weeks ago, as Harvey's heavy rains developed into a catastrophic flood in Houston, Ruby Hayes saw the water rising in her north Houston home.

An 84-year-old widow, she walked to a Gallery Furniture box truck, which was directed to Hayes street after her granddaughter called the furniture store for help in rescuing her grandmother.

It also happened to be Hayes birthday, which she disclosed to "Mattress Mac," as she sat in Gallery Furniture, which he converted to a temporary shelter.

"It's my 84th birthday," she said at the time.

After a moment's pause, Mattress Mac told her she'd be getting a new mattress for her birthday. A few days later, with a FEMA voucher in hand, she relocated to a hotel near her flood-damaged home. She goes back daily to check on the home and on her grandson who continues to live in it.

Mattress Mac also directed volunteers to tear out sheetrock in the house, but she has no money for repairs -- other than what FEMA may provide.

What she didn't know, is that her story touched the heart of a 9-year-old boy who saw her plight on TV and cried.

"It was her 84th birthday and she spent it in a shelter," he said.

Kaleb Lawson asked his mother to find Mrs. Hayes. She finally did, and Saturday, the Lawson family -- strangers until now -- threw her a belated birthday party.

Hayes walked into a large room of well-wishers singing happy birthday and got a hug from Kaleb, who bought her a silver necklace with a heart. He and his younger brother also baked her a heart-shaped birthday cake.

Mrs. Hayes was moved by the attention and affection.

"He's so compassionate," she said.

She also received a call from Mattress Mac, checking on her progress.

"There are so many good people out there," she said.

She doesn't know when she'll be able to move back into the home where she's lived for more than 40 years. A widow, she worked for years as a nutritionist, retiring at 75.

She does have a standing invitation from the Lawson family to spend some time at their home.

"Kaleb wanted her to live with us," his mother said.


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Related Topics:
societyhurricane harveybirthdaygood samaritanfloodingHouston
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