Saturday night, as Hurricane Irma headed our way, a shelter at River Ridge Middle School filled up.
There were about 2,000 people at the New Port Richey school. Half were inside the gymnasium and among them was 94-year-old Fran Faraci.
Her son, Sal, just wished his mom could be a little more comfortable for what was going to be a long night.
“We didn’t know we needed mattresses, so they put us in chairs. She has to sleep in a chair,” he said on ABC Action News that night.
Less than an hour later, a man named Douglas came through, bringing an air mattress especially for Fran. A group of teens helped blow it up. She couldn’t imagine how it all happened.
“America is beautiful,” she said.
Fran got somewhere comfortable to sleep, but here were many others in need.
Then in the early morning hours, something amazing happened.
More and more people who were watching came to the shelter. They brought more mattresses, sheets, blankets even neck pillows.
“When we saw your report, we felt moved. We had to come down,” a woman told us.
Shelter staff started moving people from chairs to beds.
Eventually the storm passed, and everyone went back home.
After few days without power, Fran is back to her normal routine. She got quite a kick out of her 15 minutes of fame.
“My name was on tv!”
But she still doesn’t even know who the stranger was that saw her on television and decided to help.
“I said who are these people. I have to thank them. And before I knew it they were gone.”
Fran said she had a lot of fear that night, but thanks to others in the community, she also had some comfort, and a place to lay her head.