Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

'You're Changing My Whole Life': Internet Rallies Behind 82-Year-Old Walmart Employee to Help Pay Medical Bills Carmen Kelly was in for quite the present this holiday season when one generous shopper noticed her using a cane on the job.

By Emily Rella Edited by Jessica Thomas

Christmas came early for one long-time Walmart employee who received a life-changing payment thanks to one customer who was inspired by her story.

Eighty-two-year-old Carmen Kelly caught the eye of shopper Elizabeth Rizzo at an Arizona Walmart earlier this month.

Rizzo first posted a Tiktok talking to and showing Kelly working while using a cane, noting that she wasn't able to sit during her shift and that she needed to work to pay off medical bills.

"I'm going to make sure this goes viral and get you some help, Carmen. I'm going to try my best," Rizzo says in the video, which has now been viewed more than 15.2 million times.

@rustywarrenknockersupgal #walmartgofundme #walmartfundraiser #carmen #https ♬ original sound - Rusty Warren

Thousands flooded the comment section offering their support for the worker.

Related: 'You Just Saved a Life': Kind Stranger Brings Starbucks Barista to Tears in Life-Changing Interaction

"She seems like such a sweet lady with a wonderful spirit," one user wrote.

Rizzo then launched a GoFundMe to help pay off Kelly's bills with a hefty goal of $10,000.

By Thursday afternoon, the fundraiser had raised more than $130,000.

Over the weekend, Rizzo shared how successful the GoFundMe had been with Kelly, who was overjoyed and overwhelmed.

@rustywarrenknockersupgal #walmartcarmen #fundraiserwalmart #lizrizzo #carmen #fundraiser ♬ original sound - Rusty Warren

"I could never, ever repay you and thank you," Kelly says. "You're changing my whole life and I just feel like God sent you to me."

In a serendipitous turn of events, it was revealed in that TikTok that Rizzo and Kelly are in fact neighbors. The video also explained that Kelly and her family will be using a financial team and advisor to ensure that the funds collected will go into a trust for Kelly, noting that she must claim the funds by April but can begin transferring them at the end of this month.

Related: Viral Video Shows Chick-fil-A Worker's Heroic Rescue

Rizzo provided viewers with another recent update showing Kelly on the job. She excitedly thanked TikTok and told viewers that people in the store have been coming up and congratulating her.

@rustywarrenknockersupgal #walmartcarmenfundraiser ♬ original sound - Rusty Warren

"The way she keeps looking around because she know she has a job to do! What a hard working, sweet little lady," one viewer wrote.

It's not clear if Kelly has been able to put in her notice for retirement yet, but she told Rizzo that she hopes that she will.

Nothing like the goodwill of others to spread a little holiday cheer this season.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

'Creators Left So Much Money on the Table': Kickstarter's CEO Reveals the Story Behind the Company's Biggest Changes in 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.


Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path for 2024? Here's the Verdict

Consumer services is a broad field with a variety of benefits and drawbacks. Here's what you should consider before choosing it as a career path.

Business Ideas

87 Service Business Ideas to Start Today

Get started in this growing industry, with options that range from IT consulting to childcare.

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.