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Dee Robinson was only onscreen for about 25 seconds in a TODAY segment late last year, but the single mother’s story of fighting financial hardship during the pandemic deeply touched a viewer on the other side of the country from her.
The mother of two from Atlanta told NBC News senior Washington correspondent Hallie Jackson in December how she was working multiple jobs and using food pantries to feed her children after losing her full-time job because of the pandemic. While watching at home, a mom in Sacramento, California, wanted to know how she could help.
Sue Sperber reached out to local NBC affiliate KCRA to see if she could get in touch with Robinson, leading to an emotional moment on TODAY Thursday.
Sperber and her husband have offered to pay the first and last month’s rent or any other financial assistance Robinson needs because she and her children are facing eviction by next month.
“It would be an honor for us to be able to do that,” Sperber told Robinson via Zoom on TODAY. “I think you’re such a great role model for your children. They see you working and it doesn’t just affect you, it will inspire your children to see what a good work ethic looks like.”
“Thank you so much,” Robinson said while dabbing tears. “Given everything going on in the world, it’s great to know that there are still good people out there.”
Robinson has been driving for Uber and Lyft to try to make ends meet after losing her job at a credit union in March 2020 when the pandemic began.
“My son is disabled, Down syndrome and autism, and with the pandemic, it’s been very, very tough,” Robinson told Natalie Morales on TODAY Thursday.
She fell six months behind on rent after losing her job as she worked just to support her children.
“I just tell them, you know, ‘Everything’s going to be OK,”’ she said tearfully.
Robinson and her children are facing eviction on March 1, and her car is in the process of repossession.
“It’s to the point where I can’t even sleep,” she said. “I need answers. I want answers. I just need help.”
Sperber was moved by Robinson’s determination during an arduous time when she saw the TODAY report in December on Americans struggling during the pandemic.
“I was just inspired by her perseverance and the fact that she had two jobs, and I said to my husband, Owens, ‘I saw a lady this morning that just is such a great role model for everybody,”’ Sperber said. “She’s working so hard to be a good parent and to provide for her family. She really touched my heart.”
Sperber reached out and was able to connect with Robinson to offer her some assistance during a trying time.
“I’m glad that at least you heard me, someone heard,” Robinson told her. “It is hard. It’s challenging just being a single mom with two kids, and it’s even harder with special needs children.”
“Parenting to me is the most important vocation any of us can be blessed with and to meet the challenges as you’re trying to do really resonated with us,” Sperber said.
Robinson has also shared the good news that she started a new job last week and is currently training for a property and casualty license needed to sell property and casualty insurance.
Sperber, who hopes her act of kindness will inspire others to help fellow Americans in need, has stayed in regular contact with Robinson to provide her the financial assistance she needs once she secures new housing.
“That’s a blessing for us,” Robinson said.