PHOENIX (Arizona's Family Surprise Squad) -- Ann is a retired nurse who volunteers by giving COVID-19 vaccinations in the Valley. Her two dearest friends say she is the nicest person in the world and she deserves a surprise.
"The way I would describe her is, if there was one piece of pizza, she would give it to you and say she's not hungry, even if she was starving," said her friend Eileen. "She's volunteered for everything. Whether working at the polls or in a soup kitchen, she's just always there to lend a hand. The place that she had up in Payson was her happy place. She loves to hike and be outdoors and do everything. She had hoped to be able to go stay up there this summer. But unfortunately, she had her stimulus payment that she was going to use, but she helped other people with that and so is not able to go."
Eileen and Ann's other friend, Kathy, took 3TV's Gibby Parra and the Arizona's Family Surprise Squad crew to Ann's home. Kathy called Ann and said her front gate was stuck and Ann needed to come outside and open it for them. Ann was stunned when she walked out and saw so many people waiting for her.
"Hi, Ann," Parra said. "How are you? If you can get this gate open for us, your lovely friends here want us to meet you. Is that OK?"
With a bit of prompting from Parra, Ann began to describe some of the hardships she's faced in recent months. "My husband died last year -- my second husband," she said. "Then I got breast cancer. Then I fell and broke my hip playing pickleball. And then I had to have hernia repair for the hip replacement. But I made it through it all, especially with these two helping me. And then I had COVID, oh yeah. And I was blessed. I made it through all of it, so I was a lot luckier than a lot of people with the disease and everything."
Things are better not. "My hip is good, and I'm back in pickleball. So, I'm a happy camper," Ann said.
"You mentioned your second husband had passed away," Parra said. "But one of the things you guys loved doing a lot was to get out of this heat when it gets so hot. Where would you like to go?"
"Payson," Ann answered instantly. "I love Payson. The thunderstorms coming in in the afternoon. The trees. The elk. Everything up there. The water, the lakes -- everything. Hiking. Yes, I miss all of that."
"I think I told you when I walked up that I am with the Surprise Squad, part of the Valley Toyota Dealers," Parra said as he handed Ann an envelope. "And we thought since this person is so cool and always gives back, why don't we give them a cool surprise? So, this is a cool surprise for you. Go ahead and open it."
Ann opened the envelope and let out a gasp when she read the certificate inside. "Oh my gosh. You're kidding. Wow!"
"That is a Rim Country getaway," Para smiled.
"Do you know this morning I just said I'm going to find a cabin because I want to go so bad," Ann explained. "This is amazing. I mean, honestly, that was my thought for the day. When I'm up there, my soul just feels rested. I just love it.