Aspiring Country Music Artist Raises $11K for Elderly Truck Stop Employee Battling Cancer
McCalla, AL — After a chance encounter earlier this month with a Love’s Travel Stop employee who is battling breast cancer, an aspiring country music artist has now raised over $11,000 to aid in the fight.
Fordie Hays, 33, from Mendenhall, MS, frequently stops at the Love’s, located at exit 100 on Interstate 20/59 near McCalla, AL, on his way to and from Nashville, TN.
On December 7, Hays stopped at the truck stop to fuel up and decided to grab a 10-piece nugget meal from the adjacent McDonald’s.
It was there he met 75-year-old Annie Myrick, who was working behind the counter.
The two struck up a brief conversation about what a long day it had been for them both, although it was just 1:30 p.m., and Hays said the encounter left an impression on his heart.
“The songwriter in me wanted to know her story, why she was working at her age like that,” he wrote in a Facebook group shortly after.
Among other things, a comment Myrick made about her back hurting stuck with Hays.
He couldn’t shake the thought of the elderly lady working until 12 a.m. five days a week at the truck stop (every day except Tuesday and Thursday) and wanted to help.
So Hays asked Facebook what could be done for this lady and received a flood of responses and ideas.
“She’s not begging in front of Walmart or standing around with her hand out,” Hays told the Tuscaloosa Patch in a phone interview. “She’s on her feet working (despite her back problems). I respect the hell out of someone like that. So I just had to do something.”
Most of the suggestions from Facebook included setting up a GoFundMe page for the elderly lady.
Hays said he was originally hesitant, but after a little more research, decided it wouldn’t hurt.
He set a goal of $5,000, which was raised in under 24 hours.
As of publishing, the raised amount for Myrick exceeds $11,000.
“After posting about wanting to help her, I had friends and family members contact me and tell me that she is on dialysis and still working,” Hays said.
In addition, Myrick recently underwent a mastectomy and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
When she’s done with that, Myrick said she will have to have back surgery.
To top things off, Myrick told the Tuscaloosa Patch a recent incident left two tires on her vehicle damaged and she had been driving on a doughnut to and from work and chemotherapy.
Hays and Myrick have spoken over the phone since their first chance encounter.
“She kept thanking me,” Hays told MagnoliaStateLive.com. “She reminds me of my grandmother.”
“I plan to leave the GoFundMe up until after the first of the year,” Hays confirmed. “GoFundMe even contacted me and asked me to leave it up due to the amazing response.”
He said he plans to travel back to Love’s and give her the raised funds in person in the new year.
You can view the GoFundMe benefitting Myrick HERE and donate if you feel led.
In addition, you can listen to some of Hays’s music on his official YouTube page HERE.