Britni Ricard is the CEO of her own cosmetics company, COTA Skin Care, which she started in 2019. Last year, she also became a landlord when she bought her first investment property.
The apartment building in New Orleans has 10 units and, according to Ricard, many of the tenants are single women with children.
That made her think of her own childhood growing up in public housing, and how difficult Christmastime could be for her mom.
"It was tough," Ricard told CBS News. "My mom was a single woman raising three children alone, and watching her continuously struggle as a child and wanting to figure out, 'How can I help?'"
In November, Ricard gathered her tenants for a pre-holiday meeting and, while decked out in a chartreuse suit, she delivered a gift to her tenants that would make Santa Claus green with envy: one month of free rent.
A video of her surprise announcement went viral on TikTok. In the video, Ricard also offered to organize a seminar to help her tenants become homeowners.
Kedesha Dunn lives in one of the building's units with her two boys. The single mom said Ricard's gift would allow her family to celebrate more and worry less.
"Now I, you know, I don't have to go try to take a loan out or something like ask my family for money," Dunn said. "Like, I can do it now. Like, I can do it."
"I'm an emotional person," Dunn added. "I start to cry. 'Cause I'm just like, that is so sweet. She's uh, better than Santa Claus at this point. ... Like a guardian angel."
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