Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Tragic Car Crash Leads to Unexpected Connection

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Alexandra Nelson understands the challenges of finding your way in a new country. So when she saw that someone who was already struggling had also gone through an unthinkable tragedy, she stepped in to help, giving her Pay It Forward funds and so much more.

“It made me feel good that I made difference in somebody’s life. It’s good for all of us at Bell to know the power that we have. We can change somebody else’s life with this Pay It Forward program.” – Alexandra Nelson, Bell Bank mortgage lender

Bell Employee

Alexandra Nelson

Senior Loan Officer

Lilydale, Minn.


A woman whose husband was hit and killed by a reckless driver

The Need

Alexandra Nelson was watching the news when a story gripped her so profoundly, she knew she had to do something about it.

“She was left here with no family, no job, unable to speak the language,” Alexandra remarks. “She felt stranded.”

The woman lost her husband in May when a driver, racing from police, crashed into him. 

“My daughter and I were coming home from karate classes,” the woman wrote on a GoFundMe page. “There was a car accident, and it was surrounded by police officers.”

Going to see what happened, she recognized her husband’s car.

“When I tried to go to his car, the police officer stopped me and told me that my husband was transferred to North Memorial Hospital,” she wrote, adding that when they arrived at the emergency room, a nurse told them her husband died minutes after arriving at the hospital.   

The Impact

When the news story ended, Alexandra went online and wrote to the news station, saying she wanted to contact the woman about a donation.

“She was so distressed, that she never got in touch with me,” Alexandra says, but she kept searching until she found the family’s GoFundMe page.

After sending another message, Alexandra and the woman were able to meet. In addition to donating her Pay It Forward funds, Alexandra offered to help her open a bank account and connected her with the nonprofit organization Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), which helps connect families to resources and programs to engage and empower them. (Alexandra has volunteered for CLUES, teaching a seminar for first-time homebuyers.)

“After I visited with her, I learned that her landlord was worried she wouldn’t be able to pay her rent and was telling her she needed to find a place to go,” Alexandra remarks. “It felt good that I could help give her a foundation for a few months, so she could find a job.”

Alexandra also helped the woman work with the law enforcement official assigned to her as well as connect with an immigration attorney and a psychologist, so both she and her daughter could get the help they need.

“It is in my nature to always try to help people as much as I am able to,” Alexandra affirms. “I do a lot of community service. If you have the ability, why not share it and help people in need?”

Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.

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