A 91-year-old Army veteran was robbed while he was on the way to make a bank deposit, and his community rallied around him to replace the money.
Korean War vet Floyd Barber saved $7,000 in cash for dental work, and was on his way to Chase Bank to deposit the money on March 8, when he stopped to get some gas in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona.
While Barber was at the pump, a woman he had seen around, but didn’t know approached him.
Though they were total strangers, she kissed and hugged him like they were relatives, all the while patting him down for his assets.
Unfortunately, Barber had put the cash in an envelope in his pocket, and she managed to get a hold of it. He quickly realized the woman had robbed him, and pulled out the gun he carries for protection.
“I wasn’t going to shoot her, but it didn’t scare her and she just started taking off,” he noted.
A young man pumping gas next to him chased after her, but she got away. When the police arrived to interview him, Barber told them the woman was a local scammer who had targeted him a few times in other parking lots trying to sell him a fake gold ring.
After the incident, he took refuge at a family restaurant that he has frequented weekly for the last decade.
His longtime waitress, Sherri Tacchia, 55, who described Floyd as “just the kindest person,” asked him why he looked so downtrodden, and was shocked by his story.
“He wasn’t panicked, but more in disbelief, I guess,” Tacchia told Fox News Digital. “He told me nothing like this has happened to him in 91 years.”
Barber was absolutely sick over not going directly to Chase. “I should have just went to the bank instead of stopping to get gas,” he remarked.
“I’m a good person. It shouldn’t have happened. I give money away even when I can’t afford it. That shouldn’t have happened to me,” Barber told local outlet KOLD.
Tacchia, who frequently chats with Floyd over his preferred meal of soup and a glass of milk, was broken hearted over his distress.
Sherri’s also the mother of two veterans and the daughter of one, so she was unable to understand how somebody could treat a service member so cruelly.
“He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. So, I sat down with him and asked if I could please help him, if he’d let me. He said, ‘Sure.’”
Tacchia called KOLD and told them Barber’s story, then asked her daughter to set up a GoFundMe to help recover some of the funds.
The new station interviewed Barber at Tacchia’s house the following Sunday, and donations from locals started pouring in.
The GoFundMe page raised more than two thousand dollars over the initial $10,000 goal, and community members have been going into the restaurant to donate directly as well.
Tacchia said that a local dentist offered to handle Barber’s dental work pro-bono, so he could keep the cash they raised, and his appointment is set for April.
“It makes me feel real good to know that there’s more good people out there than bad people,” Barber said about the effort.
Over the weekend, he and Tacchia went to the the bank together to transfer the money into his account.
Though Barber tried to offer her payment for helping him, Tacchia said she obviously refused.
“I told him he deserves this,” she remarked. “The real heroes are the public who listened with their hearts and gave back to a very humble soul, Floyd. All I want is a lifetime of friendship.”
The Marana Police Department is still looking for the woman who robbed Barber.