There are some people in this world that work harder than others. Unfortunately, more often than not, their hard work goes unrecognized. Cara Simmons was one of those people. Luckily, she has incredible people in her life that wanted to surprise her!
Cara Simmons is a 36-year-old, single mother of three. She works endlessly to ensure that she and her kids are taken care of. She works every day as housekeepers to pay her bills, but she never takes a day off or gets a vacation. One day, Cara was going about business as usual responding to messages. What she didn’t realize was that her life was about to change.
Cara works for a residential cleaning company called Maid Bright. That morning, Cara was told by her boss that the house she would be cleaning was owned by a very important client. A woman named Madeline opened the door when Cara arrived. The woman told Cara that the cleaning was done, but there was still plenty for her to do. The day was proving to be a weird one already, but Cara still had no clue.
Madeline told Cara that they would be preparing for a party that the owner was hosting that evening. Cara was taken to the kitchen, where a six-course meal was being prepared by the chef. All of the food looked delicious and extremely expensive. So, Cara was a bit surprised when she was asked by Madeline to “taste-test” the food.
Cara tasted an incredible lobster dish worth $500, a bunch of truffle-covered dishes, and some delicious chocolate desserts. She couldn’t imagine her day getting any better. When the bell rang, Madeline asked Cara to open it. It was a group of men with massage tables! They were there to set up for the party’s “reflexology station.” The men asked Cara something that she just couldn’t believe.
Cara was told that the masseuses needed to warm up their hands before the big party. So, Madeline asked her if she wouldn’t mind letting them give her a massage. Cara just couldn’t believe the treatment she was receiving. “I think it’s my birthday,” she said jokingly. It may not have been her birthday, but there was definitely something going on that Cara didn’t know about.
What Cara didn’t know was that she was a “victim” on the show, Prank It Forward. The show creates amazing experiences for well-deserving people. They knew that Cara was a really hard-working person and definitely deserved to have a day off. There were even more surprises in store for her, too!
Cara was then brought to a room full of clothes. Madeline told her that the clothes were “no longer needed” and that she was welcome to have any of it. Cara couldn’t believe it. Not only were all of the clothes in her style, but they were all in her size, too! Cara didn’t know it, but all of the clothes were picked out just for her by her sister, Glori, who had gone with the producers shopping. Once again, the bell rang.
When Cara opened the door, a delivery man was standing there. He brought several boxes into the house. Madeline then asked Cara to open the packages. That’s when she realized something was wrong. All of the packages were full of her things! She told the delivery man something wasn’t right, but he just said that the things belong to the owner of the house. Cara was more confused than ever. The delivery man asked her to step outside to clear things up.
Cara didn’t know it, but the delivery driver just so happened to be the host of Prank It Forward, Greg Benson. When the two of them went outside, Cara’s kids, her sister, and her niece jumped out from the back of the delivery truck. They thought they were in on the prank, but they were all about to be pranked, as well!
Cara was informed by Greg and Madeline that the house they were in had been restored and paid for – just for her. No one had been told about this, so the entire family was in shock. Cara couldn’t believe it and began to cry. “I had no idea what was going on. It was the most amazing prank,” she said later. Just when they thought it couldn’t get any better, there was one more surprise for Cara and Glori.
The sisters were then informed that they were getting an all expenses paid vacation to see the pyramids in Maya, Mexico. A vacation that Cara more than earned. “Cara’s an amazing person, an amazing sister; she’s selfless, she works hard,” her sister, Glori, agreed. “She’d give you the shirt off her back.” But, Cara appreciated the house the most.
“I remember being young and having a home with my family, and my parents got a divorce, and it changed, and we moved, but I remember the happiness there. I think my family will just create awesome memories in this house.” Cara explained. “I have always wanted to own a home,” she said. It was a truly emotional moment, especially when you consider the reason why Cara was chosen.
Defy Media, the producing company for Prank It Forward, had put out a notice in Cleveland looking for deserving “victims.” Mary Jo Dean, Cara’s boss, had nominated Cara, along with three other employees. She had them each record a video for “the company’s Facebook page.” Because of the sacrifices Cara has made for her family, including risking her own health, she was chosen!
Cara was living with ulcerative colitis. Her condition had gone undiagnosed, causing her pain and she didn’t know why. “It’s extremely painful and I was battling that and there were times when I had to be out of work without any income. I faced eviction a few times,” she said. Thanks to the Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Cara will never have to face eviction again.
Cara was given the house in what’s called a land trust deal. This means that NHS owns it, but they’re leasing it to Cara, fee free, for 99 years, with a renewable contract. NHS was also prepared to help Cara with higher housing taxes and maintenance, as well. “They’re doing an amazing job preparing me for the things I need to do and not do. They are walking me through it and holding my hand,” she said.