A Mother's Day `dream come true'

Surprise: A daughter in Columbia writes in to `Live with Regis and Kelly' and wins a van for her `deserving' single mom.

May 09, 2004|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF

Aida Jones-Goins said she was curious when she saw a shiny red van with a large red bow pull onto her street in Columbia last week. She thought a neighbor's husband had bought his wife a gift.

She was stunned when the van pulled up to her house and a petite woman got out of the front seat calling her name.

"It's Kelly!" Jones-Goins shouted, putting her hands to her cheeks in disbelief.

Television host Kelly Ripa had arrived at Jones-Goins' Hickory Ridge townhouse with a Mother's Day surprise: Jones-Goins was a winner in a contest sponsored by the morning talk show Live with Regis and Kelly.

Her daughter Kellie Jones had written a letter about how Jones-Goins cares for her five children, including a daughter with physical and developmental disabilities.

So Live gave Jones-Goins a wheelchair-accessible Dodge Grand Caravan and a two-year lease on a furnished, five-bedroom Ellicott City apartment.

"I was in huge shock," Jones-Goins said. "It felt like a dream the entire time it was happening to me. To be standing there in front of Kelly Ripa. I was having an out-of-body experience."

The surprise was taped Tuesday. On Friday, Julie and Kellie Jones, along with Kellie's 11-month-old daughter Tamera, joined Jones-Goins, her co-workers and friends to watch the show at Howard Community College, where Jones-Goins is a part-time student and works as a lab consultant.

Jones-Goins held her granddaughter and wiped away tears as other mothers were shown winning a trip, a new kitchen and a serenade from country singer Dolly Parton.

Then her daughter Kellie came on the screen. Quoting from the letter she wrote, she said her mother is "a single mom with no help from anyone." Kellie explained how Jones-Goins cares for Ashley, 15, who has the genetic disorder incontinentia pigmenti.

Ashley's wheelchair doesn't fit in Jones-Goins' car, so "we can't take my sister out much," Kellie said.

And, Kellie said, Jones-Goins has not had a bedroom of her own for years.

In addition to Kellie, Tamera and Ashley, Jones-Goins shares her home with daughter Tiffany, 16, and son Scott, 12. Julie Jones, 31, lives nearby.

"She takes care of her children first and herself last," Kellie said of her mother.

Kellie said she watches Live every day and was looking for an opportunity to write to the show about her mother. When she found out her family won, "I was running around the house," she said.

Jones-Goins was touched by her daughter's effort. "I just kept looking over at her and thinking this is the most beautiful thing she has ever done for me besides giving me a grandchild. ... She allowed them to give me a gift that was not so much a luxury, but a necessity."

Jones-Goins said she likely would forgo the new apartment and allow the show to pay the rent on her home in Columbia instead.

She said she likes the neighborhood and her children's schools, and she can walk to work at Howard Community College, where she also is studying medical transcription.

"If anyone was ever more deserving, it's her," said co-worker Wanda Garcia of Ellicott City. "It always feels good to see good people win."

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