Estela Boudet, 90-Year-Old Abuelita, Battles a Giant Puddle
|The photo Estela's grandson put on "the internet" to get results.|
Whenever the elderly dama looks out her window or takes a step outside, she sees it, taunting her, impeding her path, attracting insects, basically just being a giant buzz-killing body of standing water, sapping the joy from her twilight years.
"When it rains, there is a lake out there that never dries," 90-year-old Estela Boudet sings in melodic Cuban Spanish. "It just keep filling up."
Seriously, it's a really dastardly puddle.
For weeks, there has been an extreme case of what bureaucrats call "ponding" on SW 23rd Avenue in front of Estela's Little Havana home. She has been sweating a lot, getting sick, and going to the hospital. It's the puddle's fault. She called 311, but as anyone who has called the county's help line can attest, she might as well have called Miss Cleo.
Estela says she told a city worker in the neighborhood about the giant puddle. His response: "Put it on the Internet. Otherwise nobody will do anything."
So that's what her grandson Mike did. He posted a snapshot of Estela contemplating the mini-lake, as well a three-sentence synopsis of the problem, on the user-generated site Reddit. It was soon the most-viewed post on the site, generating more than a thousand comments. Mike sent a link to Miami Commissioner Willy Gort, who forwarded it to Public Works Director Nzeribe Ihekwaba, who personally took two staff members to Estela's house to check out the puddle.
Estela says of Mike making her famous on the Internet: "Yeah, he knows about all that stuff."
But all is not solved. The city might have to rebuild Estela's driveway in order to stem the ponding. Mike has been told that could take up to a year.
In the meantime, big vacuum rigs have been stopping by to suck up the water. Which doesn't exactly jibe with the leafy serenity Estela has come to appreciate in her neighborhood. "Why do they keep sending these enormous trucks?" she asks.