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Mother once hooked on heroin gives thanks for recovery

Timi Walton is the newest $1,000 recipient on CASH FOR KINDNESS. (Fox San Antonio Photo)

When Naja Barber just needed a break in life, someone to believe in her, an unexpected person emerged.

"Nobody thought I'd be able to turn my life around,” Barber explained. “I did nothing but pray every day and every night."

Barber said her prayers were answered the day Timi Walton came into her life. She’s a transportation driver contracted by Medicaid. She does more than just take her to appointments, Naja said she gives her hope.

"To have just one person, who didn't have to be there but chose to be there, that's makes a real big difference," she told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf.

The two met a few years ago, shortly after Barber hit rock bottom. She was addicted to heroin at the time. The 29-year-old said she faced losing custody of her young sons.

"When my kids went to sleep and they were fed, it was my time,” she told Wolf. “And I got high. I felt good. I thought I was still being a good mother but I was lying to myself."

Her boyfriend tried to help. But even he faced unthinkable challenges.

"He was shot at least 13 times,” Barber said about her now reformed boyfriend. “He lived a rough lifestyle. But he's definitely a survivor."

She never would have thought that a stranger would help turn her life around.

"I truly thank God for her every day,” she said.

Walton became a role model for Barber. She helped her with anything she needed-- from restaurants to trips for her medication-- even rides to school for her kids. The road to recovery was made possible with her friendship.

"Nobody's perfect,” Barber explained. “And if there were no such thing as second chances, a lot of us wouldn't be here today.

That brings us to this week’s CASH FOR KINDNESS surprise.

"What is this?” Walton said as Wolf walked towards her transport van. “Fox 29?"

Barber called her for a ride—even though she didn’t need one. It was all part of the surprise. Wolf explained why.

“I am here because Naja thinks the world of you,” Wolf said. “And she wants to share just how special you are. Is that okay?”

Barber sat in the passenger seat and started to cry.

"Ms. Timi, you don't know how much you mean to me,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. “You helped me so much. That’s why I called Ryan. A lot of people judged me and thought bad of me and you never looked at me any different. I appreciate you. I don't take you for granted. And I really thank God for you every day."

Barber reached out to give her friend a hug.

What are you feeling right now?” Wolf asked Walton. “I'm speechless. I really am. She's very special to me. She's one of my clients but she was like the daughter I never had. And it just touched my heart."

Walton believes if you give from the heart-- you'll always be blessed.

Her reward from Fox San Antonio only strengthened her belief.

“$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000?” Walton said after counting the money Wolf handed her. “Oh my God! Oh my God! Thank you!"

Walton said she planned to use her CASH FOR KINDNESS money to help care for her elderly mother. She also said her home could use some repairs.

Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.

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