A woman who lost some of her most prized possessions during a home burglary recently received an unexpected gift from a neighbor.
It's a friendship that developed past the state of a mere nod and wave.
"She's just a super giving neighbor," Susan Lance said.
Lance's neighbor, Christine Gillis lost a mountain of memories on May 9.
"She came home and her whole house was topsy turvy and she had been robbed," Lance said.
The thieves swiped virtually every piece of valuable jewelry she owned, pieces that were given to her by her late husband.
"He gave me a bracelet once and said 'This is your ESL bracelet,' because I got an English as a second language endorsement - 'This is your reading ring,' because I got a reading certification,'" Gillis said.
"I can't even begin to tell you what those pieces meant to me. He's gone now, but when I wore each piece, it was like having him with me," she continued.
She discovered the burglars missed a ring from her aunt that she hadn't worn in years.
"But now it's the only thing I have left. You betcha I'm going to wear it every day," Gillis said.
Just weeks after the burglary, Gillis retired from a 30-year career as a teacher at Emerson School in Phoenix.
"I taught fifth grade for 20 years, second grade for 10 years," Gillis said.
She still volunteers her time where she taught for so many years.
Lance couldn't ignore the toll her husband's death and the burglary were taking on Gillis so this week she paid it forward to Gillis with $500 cash through CBS 5 News' Pay It Forward program.
"Pour your heart to your neighbors," Gillis said. "Wave and smile and make sure that they know that you know who they are and that you like them."
Gillis said she is going to pay it forward by giving half of the money to the school where she used to work.
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