New York Times Neediest Cases Story: Love at First Sight, and Through Years of Struggles That Followed

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about helping Monique and Angel Cartegna make ends meet after job loss and injury.

Monique and Angel Cartagena met on a snowy night in 1991. She, then 16, was walking down 179th Street in the Bronx when she noticed what appeared to be a man breaking into a Toyota Celica. He, then 19, was jimmying the driver’s side window with a coat hanger, having locked his keys inside. The time was 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 31.

“So this girl with beautiful eyes walks up,” Mr. Cartagena recalled, staring at his wife the other day across their dining room table. “And I was like, ‘This is my car! You want to help me?’ ”

Ms. Cartagena covered her face with her hands. “Being the naïve 16-year-old that I was,” she said, “I helped him.” She pried open the window until he retrieved the keys. “And it was — what do you want to call it? Love at first sight?” she added.

Click here to read the complete article and to learn more about the Neediest Cases Fund.