On Mother’s Day, a Chicago mom went to Target to buy diapers for her daughter, but she left with so much more.
While shopping in the baby section for her potty-training toddler, Nicole Domitro was approached by two strangers.
“[My] mama bear was on instant alert but I thought they probably needed help finding the right size diaper,” Domitro, a mother of two, wrote in a Facebook post.
While one individual held up a phone with a picture on it, the other young man revealed his identity: Manuel Franco, the recent $768 million dollar Powerball jackpot winner.
"[He] said, ‘Hi ma’am, sorry to bother you, I know this is weird but my name is Manuel Franco — that’s me — and I was the Powerball winner in Milwaukee and I wanted to give you this $200 Target gift card for Mother’s Day,’” Domitro recounted, adding that Franco nervously pointed to an image of himself on his companion’s phone.
Before he was a multi-millionaire, Franco worked at a Target in Milwaukee. After winning the Powerball jackpot, Franco moved away due to unwanted attention from strangers recognizing him — and the move worked.
Domitro and other mothers did not recognize the lottery winner; others Franco approached rejected the Mother’s Day gift, thinking he was a scammer, Domitro said.
Although Domitro was “hesitant and skeptical,” she accepted the gift card from the 24-year-old millionaire. Franco, in turn, thanked her. Domitro asked to take a picture with Franco so she could tell others of his good deed— and, she admitted, so “I could pretend I’m Nancy Drew and fact check and confirm his identity.”
When she arrived home, Domitro and her husband, Mike, called the number on the back of the gift card to confirm whether or not the card was valid. Sure enough, the balance on the card was $200. After validating the value of the gift card, Domitro also looked up “Milwaukee powerball winner” and images of the same young man she encountered appeared online.
“I saw the face of the sweet kid who blessed our day more than he could possibly know,” Domitro wrote on Facebook. “So, I’m sharing this because the world needs more Manuel Franco’s - just like we need more Ellen DeGeneres. We need to know that, even though the world is full of ugliness and hurt and pain and deceit - there are also those who are kind, and selfless, and good!”
In the spirit of Franco’s generosity, Domitro and her husband have decided to give the Target gift card to another family.
"I could very easily spend $200 at Target but my husband and I talked about it and we're actually going to be gifting it to another family that we know who we think could benefit from it," Domitro told CNN. "Not like a struggling family but they have a baby coming and we think it would be a very cool blessing for their family."
Although the $200 seems small in comparison to Franco’s big $768 million win, Domitro said the experience was “truly priceless.”
“This may not have been a big deal to someone who now has hundreds of millions of dollars, but it’s truly priceless, and so precious to me!” Domitro wrote. “Thank you friend! May this inspire myself and others.”
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