KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- With the "feels like" temperatures in triple digits, it's hard to find refuge from the heat.
But one Kansas woman got the help she needed from an unlikely source: her mail carrier. “It makes me feel overwhelmed. I’m thankful, very thankful," Lovie Weekly said.
Weekly said her air conditioner broke years ago, and she never fixed it. Since then, the 65-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair has been counting on her fans to keep her cool. “I had my two fans, my air unit went out years ago and I never bought another one," Weekly said.
With the excessive heat warning in effect, the cool gift of a window air conditioning unit couldn’t have come at a better time.
The unlikely friendship began just weeks ago with a simple switch to Christy Zahnter’s normal mailing route.
"I walked up to her, and when you walk up to somebody's house, you can feel the air coming out. I couldn’t feel the air," the mail carrier said. "It was hot in her house. So I asked her, 'Do you have air conditioning?' and she said, 'No honey, that broke years ago.'"
That encounter early Wednesday morning is what prompted Zahnter to spring into action. “The minute I left her house, I went to the barber shop and a couple of the other neighbors' houses and just told them, 'We got to get this lady an air conditioner,'" Zahnter said.
It didn’t take long for the message to spread. Within hours, a nearby neighbor, Rick Strunk, called his pastor at Grandview Park Presbyterian Church, who donated an unused window air unit left sitting in storage. “I brought the air conditioner in. I put it in the window and installed it," Strunk said. "I was glad to have made some difference because of my financial level. It’s unusual for me to be able to contribute in a meaningful way, so it was a very good day for me."
It’s a community effort, the kind of act of kindness Weekly said she’s only seen on TV. "I appreciate it very much. I'm very thankful," she said.
After a few rough years in and out of the hospital, Weekly said she's happy for her new friendships and just happy to be home.
"I been in and out, back and forth all last year, 2018. This is 2019. I'm thanking God I finally made it home," she said.
Her neighbors and Zahnter said they're not done helping Weekly yet: they're now getting together to try and get a ramp built so Weekly can go outside in her wheelchair. In the meantime, Weekly said she's satisfied and enjoying the nice, new cool air.