'I think my mom sent her': Nassau County mother looking for her ‘Publix Angel'

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — A local mother is looking for the stranger she now calls her angel.

Single mom, Heather Perez drives for several companies to make ends meet. She’s used to making daily trips.

But her trip to the Publix in Fernandina Beach last week was special, since she said she had an encounter with a woman she never expected.

Perez was on a mission to get flowers for her son Zane’s prom last week.

But 30 minutes before arriving there, she found out her mother, Debra, 62, had died from a heart attack.

“What would you say to her if you could?” Action News Jax reporter Russell Colburn asked.


“That I’m OK, and she did a good job, and that all of her kids love her very much,” Perez said.

In the parking lot, Perez said the woman in the spot next to her noticed that she was upset.

The woman was getting ready for her daughter's prom and offered to make Zane's boutonniere.

“She gave me a hug and she said, ‘I just want you to take a deep breath, pretend I’m your mom and tell her you love her. And everything is going to be alright,” Perez said.

The woman’s compassion got Perez through the night and is still with her.

“For a second, I did feel like I had my mom, and that was a big comfort,” Perez said.  “I think my mom sent her.  I really do.”

Perez made a Facebook post Thursday looking for her ‘Publix Angel’ to thank her.

As of Monday night, it had nearly 600 likes and was shared 80 times.

She hopes people see this story and treat others with kindness.

She said that’s the legacy her mother, gone too soon, leaves behind.

“You only got one mom, only one,” Perez said.  “Love them, spend time with them and never take them for granted.”

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