Dedicated Maid Faces the Prank of a Lifetime
Cara Simmons was no stranger to hard work. She worked as a maid to provide for her three kids, but she still struggled to pay her rent and other bills on time. In her service role, she was often taken for granted by homeowners, but she never once complained.
Little did she know that her dedication would soon result in something life changing. A major client decided to work with the reality TV show Prank It Forward to acknowledge Cara's hard work with some unbelievable surprises.
A Dedicated Mom
Cara Simmons took on backbreaking work as a maid in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. As a single mother, she had to put food on the table for her three kids. Cara worked for a cleaning company called Maid Brite to provide for her family.
Although Cara was committed to her work for the sake of her kids, the stresses of life were starting to take a toll on her body. She developed ulcers and had to go to the hospital on multiple occasions. Of course, the medical bills that arrived soon afterward didn't help her stress levels.
Cash Flow Issues
Sadly, according to a 2018 report from CNBC, medical bills are the biggest cause of financial strain and bankruptcies in the United States. The cost of quality medical care is shockingly high. That means that any serious medical condition, especially unanticipated illnesses like Cara's ulcers, could immediately put a family in dire straits, even if they have insurance.
Putting in the Work
Cara kept working hard to clean homes for clients. Her effort didn't go unnoticed by her boss, Mary Jo Dean. Mary Jo hated seeing Cara struggle and wished there was a way to help her devoted employee.
A New Client
One day, Mary Jo asked Cara to head to a job in Cleveland Heights. She was assigned to clean the house of a very important client of Maid Brite. Of course, she was ready to put forth her best effort, right from the start.
Madeline started by revealing a surprising fact. Although Cara had been hired, the house had already been cleaned. However, she still had plenty of other things for Cara to do. There was a big party scheduled for Madeline's boss later in the day, and she needed help getting everything ready.
Although Cara was puzzled, she agreed to stay and help. She was there to work. The first task that Madeline assigned to her was one in the kitchen. Cara would work alongside Manny Slomovits, an experienced chef who had been hired to prepare food for the party.
A Decadent Meal
Cara didn’t know what she could possibly as feedback for Chef Manny. After all, her meals were always pretty simple. In fact, her favorite dish to prepare for her kids was spaghetti. Chef Manny’s menu offered something really special for Cara, but she worried about her usefulness.
Sticking to a Budget
Cara was enjoying the decadent meal, but she couldn’t help but wish that other people she knew could experience the meal with her. It was both fancy and delicious, and she knew she would never be able to experience anything like it again.
As Cara was finishing up her meal, the doorbell rang. Madeline politely asked her if she could answer it. As Cara opened the door, two men with a massage chair entered the house. Madeline informed her there would be a massage station at the party.
Of course, Cara thought the request was strange and too good to be true, but she agreed. She put in a lot of hours on her job, and she could definitely use some massage therapy. She sat in the chair and was treated to a gentle massage of her upper body.
Trying on Clothes
After the massage, Madeline had another task for Cara. They ventured to the master bedroom, where multiple outfits and accessories were placed across the bed. Madeline said she needed help clearing out the closets, and it was a task that Cara could certainly handle. However, the cleaning had a much different twist to it.
A Mysterious Box
Before Cara could try on her first outfit, the doorbell rang again. She went to open the door, and a mover was there with a large box. He brought the mysterious box into the living room and went back outside to grab another one. Madeline asked if Cara could unload the box while she took care of something else.
As she went through the contents of the box, Cara recognized that the items inside were her own belongings! She asked the mover how he had gotten her things and why they had been sent here, but she didn't get any clear answers. All the mover knew was that he was told to deliver the boxes to the house's owner, a Ms. Simmons.
Some Kind of Mix-Up
Madeline confirmed that the mover’s instructions were correct. Her boss' name was Ms. Simmons. This confirmation made things even more confusing for Cara. It appeared to be some kind of mix-up, and she needed to get to the bottom of it.
A Special Surprise
Both Cara and Madeline followed the mover outside to his truck. As she tried to wrap her mind around the strange events of the day, she was in for yet another surprise. Cara's three kids and her sister, Glo, hopped out of the back of the truck to surprise her!
A Necessary Explanation
The mover then removed his cap and revealed his true identity. He was really Greg Benson, an actor and the host of the web series Prank It Forward (stylized Prank It FWD). Cara's facial expression clearly showed she had no idea what he was talking about.
Prank It Forward
Prank It FWD was a series started by Break.com to trick people using ordinary pranks. The show evolved over time to become a series based on honoring people like Cara for their good deeds. The "pranks" were always fun but positive and ended with some pretty big surprises for guests.
A Note from the Boss
Mary Jo knew firsthand just how dedicated Cara was to her job at Maid Brite. However, even with bonuses, raises and flexible hours, Cara and some of the other maids were struggling. Mary Jo decided to try to do something about it.
A Day of Pampering
As Greg finally cleared everything up, Cara realized the entire day had been set up to spoil her a little bit. Madeline was actually an actress hired by the show to help carry out the prank.
A New Home
Remember all Cara’s belongings inside the house? Greg cleared that up as well. It was true that Ms. Simmons was the owner of the house. He happily revealed the biggest surprise of all. The house was officially in Cara's name!
It was revealed that Prank It FWD had partnered with Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland to pull off this massive shocker for the Simmons family. NHS knew they needed to find a house that would adequately accommodate the family and keep them in Cleveland Heights.
Developing a Land Trust
In Cara's case, the land trust is pretty simple. Ocwen Financial Corporation, a residential and commercial mortgage loan services provider, donated the home to NHS, who technically owns the property. NHS will lease the land to Cara for 99 years, and it's renewable. That means she can pass the deed on to her kids and their kids.
Dreams of a Home
Growing up, Cara had a loving home with her parents until they divorced when she was a young girl. Then she moved, and her dreams of a happy home were dashed.
A Big Celebration
Cara also learned that the party she had been "working on" all day was really for her! She couldn't believe the events of the day. She had been pampered and received a home in her name, and then there was a party to celebrate her.
A Much-Needed Vacay
In spite of her medical issues, Cara hadn't taken time off work since she had gone on maternity leave six years before. As anyone taking care of a newborn will tell you, maternity leave certainly doesn’t count as a vacation. Prank It FWD decided to change that.
Next Stop: Hollywood
After Cara's story went viral online, many news outlets wanted to speak with her about her story and experience on Prank It FWD. Queen Latifah heard about the positive prank and knew she had to talk to Cara in person. The host and actress invited Cara and her boss, Mary Jo, to appear on her talk show.
Another Big Gift
While on the show, Cara shared her financial struggles with Queen Latifah and mentioned how grateful she was to Mary Jo for nominating her for the show. In turn, Mary Jo was grateful to have someone like Cara on her team.
Getting Things in Order
Once Cara returned home to her new reality, she worked closely with NHS to learn how to get her finances in order. NHS wanted Cara to be equipped to handle her new home as well as her other bills.
A New Outlook
Even though NHS has a land trust agreement with Cara, Tisler wanted to ensure that the home wouldn’t cause Cara any financial hardship. "We want to make sure she can actually afford it going forward," the executive director revealed. "To know in Cleveland Heights, with the tax base, what it means to own a home with taxes and maintenance. We’re really working with her on a deep level."