A woman who was featured in an article by USA Today for not having enough money to buy her children Christmas presents, received a late Christmas miracle after an anonymous donor paid off her $35,000 student loan debt, which she was struggling to pay.
Starlie Becote did an interview with the website in December for an article which detailed the financial struggles many families encounter during the holiday season.
She explained that she had a lot of student loan debt, after she believed attending college would help her attain a well-paying job to support her five kids.
Unfortunately, due to the recession, Becote was only able to get a job paying $13.65 an hour, working as a case manager for a community health center.
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Becote was struggling with money so much that she ran out of gas on the way to the interview, forcing her to ask someone for money.
Her dream was to attend graduate school for social work, but thought that would never happen as she was likely to default on her student loans, making it impossible for her to ever borrow money from the government again.
The monthly payment for her student loans was $400 a month, and her total debt was increasing at a rate of $6 a day from interest.
Becote felt helpless and did not know what to do next. That's when the donor came in.
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The man, only identified as a Canadian businessman, decided to pay off her student loan debt after he read the article in December. He also gave her $5,000 extra.
But it took some time for the transaction to work, as the U.S. Department of Education would not take his first check since it was drawn on a Canadian bank. They even sent back a U.S. money order because it was also tied to a Canadian bank.
He finally found a way around it by wiring the money to a relative in America and having that relative pay off her debt.
The Department of Education has a policy to reject payments from foreign banks to limit possible unknown currency exchange fees for borrowers.
On top of that, a social services group called Children's Friend, had enough toy donations to make sure her children had enough presents on Christmas.
Though she hoped to save the extra $5,000 for emergencies, she spent much of it on one emergency that happened almost immediately after she received it.
Her 2-year-old son D'Zhaun had a severe respiratory virus that turned into pneumonia. He also contracted MRSA and had to be hospitalized in the ICU for two weeks. Because she had to take time off to be with him, she would not have been able to pay her rent had it not been for the extra money.
D'Zhaun made a full recovery.
Becote now plans to borrow money to go to graduate school so she can receive a master's degree in social work.
She said she was shocked to receive the gift from the unknown man.
"You don't hear about people that do huge things like that for people," Becote said. "I can't believe anything like that ever happened to me in my life."