Just before Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, Orlando resident Ramon Santiago made headlines. But this story about a Florida man went viral for all the right reasons.
Pam Brekke broke down in tears while waiting at Lowe's before Hurricane Irma hit when she saw Ramon Santiago receive the store's last generator. Her main concern was Richard Robinson, her 87-year-old father-in-law and Korean War veteran whose oxygen machine — which needs electricity — helps keep him alive at night.
That's when Santiago, who doesn't speak English well, approached Brekke and asked her what was wrong.
"I told him, ‘I’m just scared this storm’s coming and my father’s on oxygen. I’m just scared,’” Brekke told the Washington Post. “And I said, ‘That’s all right, God will provide.’ And then I turned to walk away. Then he stopped me. And he said ‘Ma’am, this generator’s for you. … You take it. You need it more than I do.’"
Most acts of kindness go unnoticed but this one was captured by a news team stationed at the store to capture people preparing for the storm. It was posted to social media and it took off like wildfire. As of Saturday afternoon, the video has been viewed more than 21 million times.
Now, they meet again
The pair was able to meet again this week. And fortunately, under much better circumstances.
According to WFTV-TV, the two met up at an upholstery factory where Brekke works. The two exchanged a big hug and talked as the cameras rolled. Santiago explained that just seeing Brekke in tears was enough to act and that giving up his generator was a no-brainer.
Fortunately, the power stayed on for both Brekke and Santiago as they weathered the powerful hurricane. Now, the pair is just happy their random chance meeting went viral.
"Be kind to your neighbor. That’s what God wants us to do," Brekke told WFTV. "We showed there is still goodness and love in the world."