San Antonio man, 90, becomes oldest CASH FOR KINDNESS recipient

Wallace "Joe" Najera was surprised with $1,000 on CASH FOR KINDNESS by the staff at his retirement community. At 90 years old, he's now the oldest recipient to ever win the award on Fox San Antonio. (SBG Photo)

SAN ANTONIO - Landon Ridge is a 55 and over retirement community on the far Northwest Side. Residents at the center look forward to Happy Hour on Fridays when there’s live music for some fun.

Joe Najera is one of them. He never lets his age stand in the way. The 90-year-old can been seen line dancing and twirling his partners in the room.

"He brings life to the building," Kim Fleming, concierge at Landon Ridge said.

She said he's seen as more than just the life of the party.

“Not just me, but all of the residents here think he's so kind and generous," she explained.

When Najera’s not dancing, you'll find him greeting fellow seniors at the front door. He’s been dubbed the official “front door greeter” by staff. He helps his fellow elders by carrying their bags and escorting them around with a smile.

“It makes me so happy,” Fleming said. “It lets you know that there's still love in the air. There's still love in people."

It's one of the reasons why they asked Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf to help them give back to him.

Wolf surprised everyone at Landon Ridge during a recent Happy Hour celebration. But he let Fleming share with people in the room why Najera is so special to the community.

“I just want to let everyone know how much we appreciate him here at Landon Ridge,” she told him in front of dozens of residents and workers. “He's been the life of the party. He's always doing so many kind things for everybody. Everyone always knows that he's at the front door all the time helping everyone come in with packages and bags."

Najera joked “I’m going to pat myself on the back!”

Everyone in the room started to laugh. But Najera’s secret nomination on CASH FOR KINDNESS earned him more than just a pat on the back from Fox San Antonio.

Wolf handed Fleming a stack of $100 bills to give to Najera.

"$500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $1,000,” she counted, while putting the money in his hand.

Najera threw up his arms with the money clutched tightly in them and smiled from ear-to-ear. Cheers erupted in the room.

"I feel like I'm the happiest in the world,” he told Wolf with tears in his eyes. “The happiest to help people get through the world.

Wolf asked him “Why are you crying right now?” He responded, “I don't know. I never expected this."

It was an emotional moment for Najera’s daughters too, who wanted to be there for their father’s surprise.

"He's always been like this,” Juanita Pollard said. “Always. And I'm so proud of him. And I'm so grateful for the appreciation that is shown here for him because he would give you the shirt off his back."

His other daughter Beverly Abbott shared how they still follow the Golden Rule, which was taught to them by their father growing up.

"He's taught us do that because that's the only thing that's going to make this world go round is being kind to each other," she explained.

And while Najera may be a thousand dollars richer, he said it’s the recognition for being kind that made him feel like a million bucks.

Najera is currently the oldest recipient to ever receive the CASH FOR KINDNESS award.

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


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