ORLANDO, Fla. – A connection of fate and a “Make Ends Meet" report on News 6 delivered an unexpected financial lifeline to furloughed Coral Springs preschool teacher Nikki DaCosta and her two daughters, courtesy of a retired police officer who remembered the school from his days serving the city.
Just hours after the single mom’s story was broadcast on News 6 at 7 p.m., retired officer Larry Saxon contacted News 6 to offer DaCosta help.
“I did 25 years in law enforcement, 22 of them with the city of Coral Springs," Saxon said. “I’ve driven up and around that school in Coral Springs.”
Christ Church Coral Springs furloughed teachers as students stopped attending because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nine weeks after being furloughed on March 23, the single mother of two girls -- ages 11 and 13 -- has not received an unemployment check.
News 6 found that while working at the nonprofit school, administrators never paid the payroll deduction for unemployment.
“Regular taxes are taken out but not for unemployment,” DaCosta told News 6.”I do my taxes every year.”
DaCosta sent News 6 a pay-stub and recent W-2 form to prove her case.
“I’m not one of those people that don’t want to work," she said. “I love working, it’s just sad that they’re really not helping the ones that really work.”
Saxon said he had been saving money for home repairs but felt Nikki “needed it more.”
News 6 hosted a Zoom meeting between DaCosta and Saxon, who is now an incident management coordinator for the Florida Turnpike, to deliver his good will personally.
Saxon explained his relationship with the city and memories of the school.
"We kind of run parallel paths and I just wanted to help you,” he told a tearful DaCosta. "So with that being said, I’m giving you $5,000. Hopefully that will get you through August when you go back to work.”
DaCosta began sobbing and said she never expected anything like that to happen to her.
“Thank you so much," she said. "I just wanted my story to be heard.”
Saxon replied with a smile, “Oh it was heard, loud and clear.”
News 6 has set up a special account with Addition Financial to make sure funds get from News 6 viewers to the intended families.
If you would like to help a family or you have an unemployment issue of your own, email News 6 investigator Mike Holfeld at MakeEndsMeet@wkmg.com.