Anonymous customer donates stimulus check to Raleigh small business owner denied PPP twice

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- An anonymous customer donated their stimulus check to a Raleigh esthetician who has been out of work and unable to get federal loan relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kathleen Makena recently received a card in the mail from one of her customers. The author inquired about her health during the COVID-19 crisis and offered some words of encouragement.

Part of the message said, "I know with the stay-at-home order, small businesses are struggling."

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Makena can only wish for the same kind of support from the federal government.

She owns Makena Skin Care and tried not once, but twice to receive relief.

"I didn't get it; the money went so fast," said Makena.

The Paycheck Protection Program was a no-go for her, although others have been able to collect.

The latest data from the federal government shows more than 56,000 loans have been approved for North Carolina business during the second round of PPP. Total payouts so far have totaled more than $4.2 billion.

Barely any money has been trickling into Makena's small business during the pandemic.

She just started collecting unemployment as a 1099 independent worker.

"That's really helpful, because I didn't start getting unemployment until Monday. That's 6 weeks without pay. I'm 40 percent behind this time last year, so its definitely taken a hit," said Makena.

She used to book out three months in advance. Now, she's unsure when restrictions will be lifted and she'll be able to welcome people back into the space.

But she is incredibly thankful for the kindness of others, especially from the aforementioned card she got from a customer. That card included more than touching words.

The anonymous customer wrote "I hope this helps a little" when handing over their stimulus check to the small business owner to help during a stressful time.

"I have chills," she said. "Your mind's just spinning. You're so grateful. My eyes welled up with tears. I just couldn't believe the kindness, the generosity, the thoughtfulness."

Makena says a few other customers have also made some donations.

The takeaway here is there are small things all of us can go to offer emotional and financial support to our favorite small businesses. Maybe that's making a donation or purchasing a small product.
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