|By Susan Miller Degnan, The Miami
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 12, 2010 --Housekeeper Jeanne Mydil did the right thing, and South Floridians are following her example.
Mydil's bosses at Miami International Airport Hotel were happily overwhelmed Friday with an outpouring of phone calls and e-mails from good-hearted citizens eager to donate money to Mydil, who found $6,000 left behind by a missionary group while she was cleaning a room. She promptly turned it into her supervisor.
Friday, South Florida responded in kind.
One anonymous donor called the hotel and put a $6,000 donation on his credit card. Another dropped off $1,000 cash in an envelope and walked out without wanting a thank you.
Dozens of people called The Miami Herald saying they wanted to donate $20, $50 or $100. Many more said they dropped checks in the mail to the hotel.
By the end of the business day Friday, $7,535 had arrived at the hotel for Mydil.
"I am overjoyed," said Mydil, a 50-year-old mother of three who makes a little over the minimum wage.
"If all of these people are responding to help me, first I have to give thanks to God. Then I have to say to everyone, 'A big thank you.' "
She said a portion of the donations will pay off money she borrowed to bury her late husband, who died suddenly May 23 of complications from diabetes.
She also said she will send money to help her sister, whose husband died in the massive earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12. His body was discovered under the rubble of his home in Carrefour.
At the time Mydil found the money, she did not realize it belonged to a missionary group from El Paso, Texas, headed to Haiti to help with earthquake relief.
The money, found in a nightstand in a large zippered bag, was left behind along with a pair of glasses. The missionaries sent her $100 in gratitude.
Hotel sales and marketing director Marta Guerra said hotel workers were "astounded" by the community's response to Mydil's story.
"We just can't believe this is happening."
Colleagues honored her Thursday as the Miami International Airport Employee of the Month.
The $6,000 donor, who wished to remain anonymous, had a unique way of looking at the community's response.
"It's a spiritual law of the universe," he said. "The way you receive is by sharing, and just like gravity, it affects everyone the same way."
Added another: "We were moved by her goodness. Please tell her, 'We need more random acts of kindness like yours.' "
Heidi Herzberger, the hotel controller, said the phone hadn't stopped ringing Friday.
"One man drove from Pinecrest to drop off an envelope in person. A gentleman called from Ohio indicating he had seen The Miami Herald story online and was compelled to put it on his website to help spread the word. Two radio stations have collected checks, and on and on," she said. "Unbelievable."
The ultimate shocker for Herzberger was when she received a call from the person who gave $6,000.
"I asked him how much he wanted to give, he told me $6,000 and I said, 'Excuse me?' " Herzberger said. "Then he said it again. And there was silence. And he said, 'Hellooo?' And I said, 'I'm sorry, I just fell off my chair.' "
Miami Herald staff writer Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.
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