Her angel: Neighbor helps buy scooter for Florida mom left partially paralyzed after stroke

Paola Buendia's life was turned upside down several months ago after she suffered a stroke.

"Everything was normal. I was the most active person you can imagine," she said. Five months ago, she suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of her body. 

She said she went from a happy, healthy, and active 42-year-old – and mother to three kids – to being in the hospital, losing her income, and her independence.

"It changed my life. It was like a new life from one moment to another," she said.

Recently, she was walking the mile or so to pick up her kids from Winter Springs High School, an everyday task that now takes an hour to complete, when a neighbor saw her and offered to help.

"I knew I could do something.  I didn't know what that would be, but there is something that I had to do to try to make things easier," said Taber Caro. She offered Buendia and her kids a ride home that day – but wanted to do more.

She contacted the community and posted in several online groups to see if anyone had a scooter to donate or to sell. She found one for $400, bought it, and delivered it to Buendia the next day.


Buendia said Caro is her angel, a title Taber said she doesn't deserve.

"It should be human. I don't think it is anything heroic or worthy of a gold star. I think it's being a decent human.  I would have no purpose if I wasn't looking around thinking of how to do something for someone," she said.

In addition to the scooter, other residents reportedly offered Buendia free physical therapy lessons and rides to wherever she needs to go. She created an online fundraiser to help cover the cost of the scooter, and within hours, they doubled their goal – raising over $900.

"The response was just heartwarming," she said. She hopes others continue to look for ways to help others.

"You don't have to be rich to do it, you don't have to have tons of spare time.  It is the tiny gestures that snowball into the huge life-changing events."