57 Minute Miracle surprises 94-year-old Elkhart woman

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind.--Again this year, we’re delighted to be able to spread a little holiday cheer to families across Michiana — our 57 Minute Miracle is back!

If you don’t remember, here’s how it works: our team, led by ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather Meteorologist Emily Kennedy, approaches someone at random and asks if they know anybody in need of a miracle.

If our miracle maker can get us to that person in 57 minutes, we give them 570 dollars with no strings attached!

We’re kicking off our “Week of Miracles” with a journey to the UPS store at Cornerstone Crossing.

Inside of the store, we caught up with Tracey Bontrager from Elkhart, who needed just a moment to think of who she wanted to surprise with a miracle.

“Can I call somebody?” Bontrager asked. 

She called around and reached her mother-in-law to see if she could help her think of someone in need.

“You guys always know somebody that is in need of a miracle or has a need. Can you think of somebody? I know, I’m on the spot, I can’t think of anybody, it’s like I have stage fright,” Bontrager said into the phone. “Is she home and can we get to her in 57 minutes? Oh, we got a 94-year-old lady. She still does water aerobics and drives.”

Bontrager decided to try and find Mary Mansfield in the 57 minutes.

Once with an address in hand, Bontrager began her journey to Mansfield’s home.

Just after the 14 minute mark, Kennedy and Bontrager arrived at Mansfield’s home but didn’t see a car in her driveway.

A few moments after knocking on the front door, Mansfield opened up.

“Hi Mary, I’m Nikki Bontrager’s daughter-in-law, Tracey, how are you?” Bontrager said at the door. “These nice people found me in the parking lot and asked if I knew anybody that needed a blessing or a gift. A miracle. So I called my mother-in-law.”

Kennedy stopped the timer, which read 17 minutes. 

“We got to you in plenty of time. So we got here in 17 minutes and 17 seconds,” Kennedy said. “We get to give you $570.”

The money will go a long way for a woman living on her own.

“Well, I’m 94-years-old and I only have one daughter here in Elkhart and all the others are scattered all over the place,” Mansfield said. “Right now, I have some medical problems with my leg.”

With medical bills adding up, Mansfield couldn’t be more grateful that Bontrager and her mother-in-law thought of her.

“I thank her tremendously and also her mother-in-law for mentioning me because we are good friend,” Mansfield said.

Bontrager felt blessed by the whole experience.

“I think this is probably the most amazing thing. I think that we should be thankful and that we should help other people and pay it forward,” Bontrager said. “I think that we can bless people, that’s what we should be doing. It shouldn’t just be reserved for this time of the year.”

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