Presidential candidates hear tales of woe all the time on the campaign trail. But rarely does one respond by pulling cash out of his back pocket to help a struggling voter pay her bills.
Mitt Romney did just that here Saturday night, according to ABC News. When a 55-year-old woman, Ruth Williams, who said she lost her job last October, approached the Republican presidential front-runner on the rope line following a campaign rally in Sumter, he gave her what an aide later said was about $50 or $60.
It did not appear that the exchange was caught on camera, but ABC’s off-air reporter, Emily Friedman, witnessed it and interviewed Williams afterward. Williams told Friedman that she has been volunteering at Romney’s Columbia, S.C., campaign offices and has been following his campaign since first spotting his campaign bus on Wednesday.
“I was on the highway praying and said, ‘God, tell me how to get [my] lights on,’” Williams, apparently referring to her electricity bill, told Friedman. “I pulled up to a stop sign and his bus was there. And then God said, ‘Follow the bus,’ and I followed the bus.”
Williams said she followed his bus to the Columbia airport, but Romney wasn’t on board. Aides told her to go to a rally later that day and when she showed up, Romney found her, said hello and introduced her to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R).
“He was kind to me and he made Governor Haley come see about me,” Williams told Friedman. “He stopped doing everything.”
Williams told Friedman that South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Romney’s state campaign chairman, paid her light bill on Thursday. “God didn’t tell me to go to nobody else,” she said. “He told me to pray for Romney. I listened to the Lord.”
There was no indication that Romney’s cash gift was calculated or anything more than a spontaneous reaction to one woman’s story of personal struggles.
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