Town rallies to help 95-year-old woman swindled out of her life savings

by - April 02, 2020

95 year old Barbara Hinckley from Auburn, Maine suffered a terrible loss last year, being robbed of her entire life savings. Targeted by a con artist, the normally astute ex-librarian was convinced that she had won a contest with a prize of $2.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz. Progressively fooling her, the conman succeeded in emptying her bank account worth $16,000 (Rs 11.9 lakhs) leaving the old woman penniless and her family distraught.

placard announcing hero of kindness
When the former Governor of Maine John Baldacci heard about what had happened, he struck upon a unique way to help Barbara. In January 2020, John Baldacci held a spaghetti fundraiser to raise funds for the old lady.

man serving spaghetti to customers

Based on the secret recipe that used to be served by his family at their old restaurant, the Governor himself cooked and served over 60 pounds of noodles, 17 gallons of sauce, salads and rolls for over 400 people that night. The police also used the event as a teaching moment, explaining to the diners the various online scams around and how to detect them.

crowd sitting in room eating dinner

And even though the entry fee was capped at a small $5, people still opened their wallets and paid more. When the final tallies came in, the event had raised $18,000 - more than the money the old woman lost.

 Hinckley's daughter, Marsha, was overwhelmed by the love shown to her mother by the people of Maine.   

“From the unexpected $1,000 checks to the obviously financially struggling people in line that gave extra above their tickets, I have been bowled over by people’s generosity. It has been a roller coaster ride for her and all of us in the family, too, from destitution to solvency.” 
- Marsha Donahue

Heroes of Kindness:

Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z & #AtoZChallenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.
You can follow my 2020 Edition of Heroes of Kindness here.

Want more stories of compassion? I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)

Heroes of Kindness - My Interviews

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  1. A heartening post Roshan! Been trying to get around to your blog all day. Waiting to read all about the Hereos of Kindness again this year. My heart needs some hope in these times of external and internal struggles.

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  2. Your theme is such a positive and inspiring one..would love to read real life hero stories..this one is really heart warming..the old lady got supported by people with so much love and care and economic support..indeed an appreciative act of kindness!

  3. Great that the entire town helped her. May God bless them all.
    Like Jamtara scam. Hope there are no more cheats in this world.

  4. What a heartwarming gesture. Instills your faith in humanity. Do you think there are enough kind people or do we need more. I think they will never be enough.

  5. Very inspiring yet again! Heartwarming and such kind gesture.

  6. So many people get conned like this. Especially the older generation who doesn't understand Phishing. I am wondering if they caught the conman.

  7. So heartening. Sometimes from tragedy a blessing arises - compassion shown and money replaced with more. Hope they caught the conman.

  8. How beautiful! Your posts remind us that we still have kind people in the world. And the world is still a beautiful place for these people. Will be back again here to have a dose of kindness from you, Dr. Roshan.

  9. Just yesterday we were watching a South Park episode where the elderly buy ridiculously priced jewelry from home shopping network for their grand kids. They show that this jewelry is being sold at 10% of the original cost and so the seniors get lured into buying it. Now these people don't watch South Park!! What this mayor did was such an awesome thing.

  10. I've always come to your site and read some heartwarming posts of kindness and I keep thinking I should come back more frequently. How do you come across these stories?

    Yesterday my mother was telling me a similar story that almost happened to a customer of hers. Luckily, she and her colleagues convinced him that he wasn't about to get any prize money and then he was convinced.

  11. That is indeed a very touching story and Baldacci is indeed a noble soul.

  12. It's such a touching story .Thanks for spreading kindness.

  13. Totally positive in our times. The world is reeking under turmoil and here are individuals who show us the way towards humanity.

  14. I wonder what really triggers Kindness in us? This was such a beautiful gesture and it must have bought such joy to not just the receivers but the givers too. Thanks for sharing such a lovely story Roshan.

  15. How wonderful that the entire town came all out to help and support Barbara! This story has truly made my day. Despite the bad around us, there is a lot of goodness too!

  16. That was a great gesture by the whole town but special kudos to Mr. Baldacci for putting the smile back on the old woman's face. What I liked most was that the police using the opportunity as a teachable moment to everyone.

  17. "Little drops of water, little drops of rain, make the great big ocean and the lovely land"
    I recollected these lines from a poem that I learnt in primary school, when I read this article. Its indeed very thoughtful and kind of the Governor Badacci to take up a unique way to help the victim of the fraud as well as educate the people of the town about such frauds.
    Salute to such heroes!
    B for Before Its Late at

  18. What a beautiful thing to do and to have the police officers teach the customers is even amazing! Thanks again for sharing such amazing stories :)

  19. Another great story.
    I so dispise people who con the elders. Cowards that they are!

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  20. Last year an aunt of mine was diddled out of a crore ! I was shocked how she did such a foolish thing as it was her entire life savings. These things do happen .

  21. How wonderfully they turned the situation around. To use it as a platform to spread awareness about such scams was very thoughtful of them.

  22. This was another heartwarming post.makes me want to believe in humanity yet again.

  23. It's such a positive feeling. That's the effect your Heroes of Kindness have on me. Mayor John Baldacci is a gem of a human and so are the countless people who contributed to help Barbara Hinckley. Thank you for sharing.


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