Tracy Orr sat in the back of the room and prepared to watch her foreclosed home go up for auction this past Saturday. That's when a pesky stranger sat down beside her and struck up a conversation.
"Are you here to buy a house?" Marilyn Mock said.
Orr couldn't hold it in. The tears flowed. She pointed to the auction brochure at a home that didn't have a picture. "That's my house," she said.
Within moments, the four-bedroom, two-bath home in Pottsboro, Texas, went up for sale. People up front began casting their bids. The home that Orr purchased in September 2004 was slipping away.
She stood and moved toward the crowd. Behind her, Mock got into the action.
"She didn't know I was doing it," Mock says. "I just kept asking her if [her home] was worth it, and she just kept crying. She probably thought I was crazy, 'Why does this woman keep asking me that?' "Mock says she bought the home for about $30,000. That's when Mock did what most bidders at a foreclosure auction never do.
"She said, 'I did this for you. I'm doing this for you,' " Orr says. "When it was all done, I was just in shock."
"I thought maybe her and her husband do these types of things to buy them and turn them. She said, 'No, you just look like you needed a friend.' "
"All this happened within like 5 minutes. She never even asked me my name. She didn't ask me my financial situation. She had no idea what [the house] looked like. She just did it out of the graciousness of her heart, just a 'Good Samaritan,' " Orr says. "It's amazing."
Orr says she had taken out a mortgage of $80,000 in 2004 when she first bought the home. At the time, she says she worked for the U.S. Postal Service. But she lost her job a month after taking out the loan when she says the Post Office fired her over a DWI while off-duty. She says a wrongful termination lawsuit is pending.
Without a job, she fell behind on her home payments. She sold some property in 2006 for $12,000 and paid it to the mortgage company, thinking she had done enough to save herself from foreclosure -- but to no avail, she says.
"It's just been a bad deal," says Orr, who now works at All Saints Camp and Conference Center, a Christian group with ties to the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, Texas.
With the foreclosure auction approaching, she planned to make the nearly 80-mile drive to Dallas this past Saturday with an investor friend. But she says he ditched her at the last-minute. She went to the auction with her family, and suddenly found herself in the back with Mock.
"I always talk to everyone around me," Mock says. "I mean you can always find out all kinds of interesting things when you talk to people around you. So I just asked her, 'Are you here to buy a house?' "
Mock, who is known as the "Rock Lady" for her small business selling flagstone and other rocks in Rockwall, Texas, says she went to the auction with her 27-year-old son to help him buy his first home. He bought his home, and soon afterward Mock came across Orr.
Mock says she's using one of her business dump trucks as collateral for the $30,000 sale price. "I can't afford to just give [the house] to her," she says.
As for Orr's payments, Mock says, "We'll just figure out however much she can pay on it. That way, she can have her house back."
Why be so generous?
"She was just so sad. You put yourself in their situation and you realize you just got to do something," says Mock, who says she has trouble walking by homeless people on the street and not helping them out.
"If it was you, you'd want somebody to stop and help you."
When she told her husband of 30 years that she'd just bought a home for a stranger, she says his reaction was: "Whatever."
"He's used to it," she says with a booming laugh.
Mock says she's excited for another reason too. Orr's house is located near a Texas fishing hot-spot. "She says I can come up there and fish, and I love to fish!"
Orr, who nearly lost her home, says her newfound friend has "given me back faith and hope to keep going and hold my head up.""Things happen for a reason," Orr says.
Watch why a woman would buy back a stranger's home »