CBS News Gives $400 to Plumber Who Helped an Elderly Client for Free

Who doesn’t know this: A pipe bursts, the toilet won’t stop running, the sink doesn’t drain properly. After the initial frustration subsides, the realization dawns that a plumber needs to be called. Usually, that means hundreds of dollars literally down the drain.

This was the reality facing an elderly woman on a steady income. However, what happened when the plumber came to her house was heartwarming and not bankrupt.

Why a plumber offered his services to an elderly customer for free

Photo by Anil Karakaya

Orelia Diaz, a 90-year-old woman, lives at home without assistance. One day she faced a streak of bad luck. First, she found that her water heater was broken. Then she found that a gas and water pipe in her house were also broken.

Since Orelia lives on a very small fixed income, the price of fixing the problem would severely impact her budget. She turned to her family for help. Luckily her cousin Shirley Garcia knew what to do.

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Shirley knew the best way to get a good price on a plumber was to go through the phone book with a fine-toothed comb. The main thing she wanted to avoid was big companies, knowing that they tend to overcharge and underdeliver.

Shirley reached out to local plumber Robert Toney, owner of RV Toney’s Plumbing. Robert showed up at Orelia’s and immediately got to work – for free! He generously replaced her water heater and repaired the broken water and gas lines.

How a plumber proved the importance of helping those in need

Knowing Orelia was that old and must have had a steady income, he didn’t charge her anything. Orelia was so touched by his generosity that she decided to do something good in return.

Orelia knew her local CBS news show had a section called Pay It 4Ward that focused on amazing people in the community or people with interesting stories who are in need. The show highlighted the achievements or actions of community members and included a small cash prize.

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Orelia nominated Robert for the show – and he was chosen! She invited Robert in by pretending to need help with another plumbing problem and when he walked in he was flabbergasted. The TV crew explained what was going on and Shirley presented Robert with $400 to say thank you.

Robert Toney doesn’t make it a habit to work for free. In fact, a successful business and a healthy income are the top priorities in his life. But his faith is also important to him and he never earns money from the needy. Based on his values, Robert decided to use the money provided to him from the Pay It 4Ward program to help more people in need.


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