Since Hurricane Ike blew through Orange County on Sept. 13, many organizations have banded together and are helping to ‘put Humpty Dumpty together again.” But, there are also individual random acts of kindness happening throughout Southeast Texas.

One of The Record’s own, Amanda Adams is the beneficiary of one of those acts from a complete stranger.

Adams has been playing online games for the last couple of months trying to earn enough points for gift cards to help subsidize her family’s fund for Christmas gifts.

It was one of those nights, while chatting with other people in the room, she was noticed by a former area resident. Adams was talking about all the destruction that came to our area. How even the newspaper is temporarily relocated, working on borrowed folding tables and chairs, lawn furniture and a picnic table.

That particular day, a woman in Richmond, by the name of Melanie Linder, heard her tale and wanted to do something to help.

“This whole idea came quickly and out of the blue, but I have never been so grateful. Melanie sent a message asking what she could do to help as soon as she read the conversation about my recent hard times,” Amanda said. “After a year of personal struggle and minor hardships coming left and right, it is an awesome feeling to know that the Christmas spirit is still alive in the world.”

Linder was a victim of Hurricane Rita. She, her husband and two kids lived in Village Mills at the time. Because of Rita, her husband’s job vanished. “We had to sell his mother’s and father’s house,” she said.

They moved to Richmond and lived with her mom and dad for awhile. A hotel was home for six months. Just since August, they finally have an apartment they can call home.

“We’ve had our ups and downs,” Linder said. She knows how hard it is in this situation. “I had to humble myself,” she said. It’s hard to accept help sometimes. She has been thankful for the times they were given food stamps. “We’re doing pretty good,” she said, although the company here husband is working for is shutting down for two weeks like several in this area are doing. “I hope it’s just two weeks,” she said. “If it’s longer, we’re going to be in trouble again.”

Even with her own precarious position she felt compelled to do something. “I know the importance of helping.”

“We’re really thankful, we’re blessed,” she said. They actually shuffled between five different hotels during their recovery period from Rita. “I still don’t have the furniture I need, but we’ve got a roof over our head.”

Linder was reluctant at first to give an interview. “I don’t want to be praised for doing what I’m doing, I just want to help out, to give back.” She said, “It doesn’t matter how much or how big you give, just that you do.”

“Nothing is more important than family and friends and helping out. It makes you feel good,” she said.

“People have forgotten how to do that. The world is too busy to think about giving. When I can, I do it. Even if it is just baking cookies.”

Talking about Hurricane Ike, “I felt compelled to help. I was going to give to the food bank. I asked God for a sign of what to do, then I saw Amanda and knew.”

Linder had asked Amanda what she needed for the boys for Christmas. Amanda only suggested maybe a couple of movies or hats for the three year old twins Lucas and Mason. Linder plans on getting a little something special for Amanda, too.

“You need to give back to your community,” said Linder.

Adams sent Linder a picture of her twins with Santa. “They were so cute in their pajamas,” said Linder.

“My children are the most important thing in my life – my gift from God for being a clean and sober, hardworking single mother. Now I have another angel in my life and a new friend forever,” said Adams. 

Linder hopes to keep in touch with Adams and maybe meet her one day. “I have a lot of friends in Buna,” she said. But for today, Adams is receiving a random act of kindness from someone she has never met.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.