Amy Rickel ended up homeless and jobless and living in a hotel with her three kids. She was desperate and didn’t know what to do, so she messaged her friend Brian to ask if he could pray for them. She didn’t realize the huge mistake she made until she got a message back.
A typo on Facebook ended up changing the course of one jobless mom’s life forever in the most miraculous way. Amy Rickel, of Appleton, Wisconsin, was homeless and unemployed with three children, one of whom was just 4-years-old. Down on her luck, the holidays were approaching and Rickel had a broken-down car, WPXI reports.
In desperation, Amy turned to a friend on Facebook for warmth and prayers. She tried to reach out by asking if there were any bible verses that her friend knew that she could pray which might help someone in “despair” who is feeling “lost.” However, she ended up getting much more than that.
After sending a private message through Facebook, opening up about her troubles, Amy quickly realized that she had accidentally sent the message to a stranger with a similar name to her friend’s. She immediately apologized, but that mistake would end up turning into one of the biggest miracles of her life.
Moved by Amy’s situation and her resolve to trust that God would work in her life, the complete stranger decided to help her. “God puts us in people’s lives for a reason,” said Brian Van Boxtel, the stranger whom Amy sent a message to on Facebook.
Boxtel told Amy that he would come and pay for her hotel, but that was just the beginning of his help. He also persuaded the struggling single mother to start a GoFundMe account, which was quickly inundated with support.
“I am a single mother of three children ages 4, 6, and 8,” wrote Amy. “I have recently lost my job and then my car died. We have been staying at a hotel we can no longer afford and all of the shelters that accept kids have long waiting lists. My only concern at this point is making sure my kids are safe and warm!”
“Any and all help will be welcomed and received with warm loving grateful hearts, and we as a family will pay it forward as soon as we are able!” she added. “Thank you all in advance for even considering helping my family out, you may never know how much it will mean to me but know that it will be everything this time of year knowing they are all warm and safe!!”
Amy’s GoFundMe story soon caught the attention of many people who were moved by her troubles and wanted to help. Among them was Kathy Schumann, who offered the use of her minivan. Then, Schumann went one step further by putting Amy and her three children up in her home.
“We just felt like this holiday season we couldn’t let the kids be out in the cold and we cleared out a room and brought them home,” she said.
Chad Morack also felt compelled to help. When he found out Rickel was a licensed practical nurse and a jobless mom, he reached out to his network. Alexandria Witkowski, the senior recruiter at TotalMed, took one look at Rickel’s credentials and was impressed. “I couldn’t help but continue working really hard to get her references and resume over to our clients so we could get her a full-time position,” said Witkowski.
One thing led to another, and soon, because of the kindness of complete strangers, Amy got a job offer. It came just nine days after her original Facebook mishap. “It’s totally restored my faith in more than just humanity, my faith in God,” she said.
Amy Rickel’s heartwarming story is a great reminder that offering help to someone in need can start a chain reaction with infinitely positive potential. One good turn begets another — we should all do our part to make the world a brighter place by giving those who are struggling a hand up whenever possible.