A 95-year-old Maine woman named Barbara Hinckley was targeted by a con man last summer running a very popular con. He convinced her that she’d won second place in a Publisher’s Clearinghouse contest, receiving a fake copy of a check in the mail awarding a prize of $2.5 million and her own brand new Mercedes-Benz. Instead, $16,000 was stolen from her bank account in small increments the con artist convinced her she had to pay in order to receive the bigger prize, according to the Bangor Daily News. Hinckley’s predicament was also covered in an article in the Sun Journal, which was eventually read by former governor John Baldacci. He decided he had to do something to help the Auburn resident.
“I thought I could soften the blow if we put on one of our spaghetti dinners,” said Baldacci. “She’s such a lovely lady, what happened disgusted me.”
The date for a spaghetti dinner was January 8th, and tickets sold for $5 a pop. The hope was to raise back some of what Hinckley lost, especially as she’d been brave enough to come forward and admit her mistake, hoping others wouldn’t fall prey to the same scam, the Press Herald reported.
The dinner night ended up raising $18,000.
Over 400 people were served Baldacci's famous spaghetti. Once the event got underway, it took on a life of its own. We…
Hinckley’s daughter, Marsha Donahue of Millinocket, helped Gov. Baldacci with organizing and serving up pasta, garlic butter, rolls, and salad at the Auburn Middle School Cafeteria. She told reporters that the donations went far and above what they’d ever expected.
“From the unexpected $1,000 checks to the obviously financially struggling people in line that gave extra above their tickets, I have been bowled over by people’s generosity,” said Donahue. “It has been a roller coaster ride for her and all of us in the family, too, from destitution to solvency.”
Hinckley has said that she trusting her family to help her make financial decisions from now, and is hoping others will be saved from her mistake. The entire family is incredibly grateful for this reminder of how a supportive community can save lives.