Herbert and Irene Ball of Long Beach, California had been driving through Lynwood on Christmas Eve of 1963. Their car was wrecked in an accident and all of their groceries and Christmas gifts were scattered all over the street.
Another Long Beach resident, Mrs. Pat Robertson, watched as the couple’s car was being towed away. She offered to drive the couple and their six children home, even though she was on her way to a holiday party at the time.
Along the way, Mrs. Ball started to feel extreme pain in her knee, so Mrs. Robertson took her to nearby Dominguez Valley Hospital. Doctors determined that she had fractured her kneecap, but they were unable to treat her because the family could not afford to pay the medical bills.
As a result, it was recommended that Mrs. Ball be taken to General Hospital. But, without a car, that longer distance meant that she would be unable to see her children on Christmas morning.
That’s when Mrs. Robertson decided to dig into her Christmas savings and pay the hospital bill. She then drove Mrs. Ball home with her knee in a cast so that she could spend Christmas morning with her children.
On Christmas, Mrs. Robertson picked Mrs. Ball up at her home and drove her back to the hospital for a follow-up visit to make sure that everything was healing well.
Mrs. Ball was quoted as saying “Mrs. Robertson’s sacrifice was the grandest Christmas present I ever received.”
Mrs. Robertson’s explanation of why she offered to help was fairly straightforward: “I couldn’t let those six children sit on the street. And after all, I have two grown children and now my grandchildren. I know what it means to see their eager eyes on Christmas morning.”