'God believes in you,' woman tells workers as she gives them $500

May 9—OLIVE HILL — A mysterious philanthropist invaded Olive Hill last week, presenting workers at several businesses with envelopes containing $500 each.

About 30 workers at Trail Town Grill received the gift, Kieara Judd-Irick said. The eatery is a recovery restaurant and Judd-Irick, a licensed clinical social worker, oversees the work by clients recovering from addiction through Journey to Heal, a residential program for women and men. Working at Trail Town Grill teaches them how to work, hold down a job and break the cycle of drug abuse. Extra money was welcome, but recipients were suspicious, saying they didn't spend or deposit the money, thinking the situation was "too good to be true."

"She said, 'God told me to bless people and I believe in you and your recovery and God believes in you,'" Judd-Irick said, noting recipients said they would use the money for things like court fees, child support and things they need, like shoes. "It was really a blessing for them. Two clients used the money to help other clients."

She also gifted workers at Speedway, Family Dollar and McDonald's, where general manager Mickey Triplett said he's never seen a situation just like this.

"I'm 27 years in (food service) and I have seen regular customers give Christmas presents and money to workers, but not a complete, random person," Triplett said. Nine workers at McDonald's received envelopes containing $500.

He said he has nothing to add to the description of the donor, but he and his crew would like to know who she is.

"(The crew members) work hard, extremely hard, and I know they'd like the opportunity to thank her, too," he said.

(606) 326-2661 — lward@dailyindependent.com