Sally Soileau of Alexandria, Louisiana, was watching the news after Hurricane Katrina hit and was overcome by the desire to help victims trapped in New Orleans. She looked online and found the number of a pay phone near the Super Dome where she saw people in trouble. She called the random number and Timothy Brock—a man she never met—answered. He was distraught and crying. He had no where to go and couldn't find his girlfriend and daughter.
Sally told him that she would help him find his family, but first she wanted to get him out of the city. She helped him find a bus and called his brother to let him know that Timothy was okay. Later that same night, Timothy called to say that he had arrived safely in Fort Worth, Texas. The next day, Sally and her husband went to one shelter after another looking for Timothy's girlfriend and daughter. Amazingly, they found them listed on a Red Cross intake directory. They were safe in Dallas and Sally reunited the family!
In a letter he wrote to Sally, Timothy expressed how much her phone call meant to him that day. "My life was taken away, little I had but God bless[es] us all. Everything [is] for a reason. Your name will be repeated in my household, in my family [and] among my friends."
More than a year later, with her challenge money in hand, Sally decides to meet Timothy and see if he needs her help. After an emotional reunion, she takes Timothy and his family shopping for clothes and toys and things they lost when they fled New Orleans. The gifts come to a total of $647.00. While shopping, Sally learns that Timothy sends $2 of every paycheck to the Red Cross—a thank you for the help they gave him after the hurricane. Sally sees this as the ultimate act of "paying it forward." She gives the remaining $353 to the Red Cross to keep the cycle going.