85-year-old robbery victim gets free eye surgery

Published: Mar. 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM EDT
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WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - An 85-year-old woman who was robbed on her own doorstep last month received a free eye surgery Thursday. Ida Sue Collins was robbed of $400 in birthday money she planned to use to pay for her surgery.

Collins said Thursday that she knows a caring person when she sees one and Dr. Millin Budev fits the bill.

"That's right, that's what I said there's still good people in this world and he's one of them," Collins said, referring to Budev, who performed her eye surgery for free.

Last month a man stole Collins' purse off her shoulder in broad daylight on the doorstep of her Charleston home. She had just returned from cashing her $400 worth of birthday checks at the bank she intended to use for eye surgery. The thief made off with all the money.

"Ms. Collins seemed just like the nicest lady and to see what happened to her was such an unfortunate thing and we just wanted to help in any way we could, and cataract surgery is what we do," said Budev of Carolina Cataract and Laser Center.

After seeing Collins' story on Live 5 News, Budev offered to do her surgery for free and provide the expensive medications that go along with the procedure. It was an opportunity Collins could not refuse.

"She's doing great, she's doing great," Budev said of Collins' recovery. "Everything went really, really well. We're lucky that we had the opportunity to help her. We're very pleased."

Since the robbery, Collins has received a couple checks in the mail from distant family members.

One nephew included a note, applauding her for giving the robber a run for his money during the incident.

"He let me know that he saw me and that he was so proud of me for fighting it," Collins said.

The largest check of all came from an anonymous man by mail to the Live 5 News studios. He told us that years ago he stole a purse from a woman and never got the chance to apologize.

When he heard about Collins' story, the man finally saw a chance at redemption and wrote a $500 check to her.

"There's so many good things that's happened out of this that I never dreamed would happen and it makes a big difference," said Collins after receiving the check.

Collins has already put all the money toward her medical bills. Shortly after the robbery, Charleston police arrested cousins Manuel Scott and Rodney Scott, Jr. They are accused of teaming up to rob Collins and also face charges in three other robberies.

The judge set Manuel Scott's bond at a $1 million. Rodney Scott, Jr. received an $800,000 bond.

Both are still being held at the Charleston County Detention Center.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. All rights reserved.