Family members say Frances “Mae” Davis was a “pay-it-forward person” who would have done anything for anyone before she was shot and killed in her car outside of Myrtle Beach Mall in broad daylight 10 months ago.
Police still haven’t found her killer, but the case remains open.
This will be Michele Gagne’s and Shelly Wells’ first Thanksgiving and Christmas without their mother. The holiday season is already hitting them hard.
“Instead of us dwelling on the sadness of mom (we wanted) to do something in her honor,” Wells said as the two sat at Gagne’s dining room table in her Little River home.
This world would be so much peaceful if people would help one another and be kind.
To make sure their mother’s case isn’t forgotten and to honor her memory of doing for others, Davis’ daughters have started a pay-it-forward campaign marked with hashtags to spread and track through social media.
“This is mom. This is what she did,” Gagne said. “She was always helping people.”
Wells and Gagne said their mother, who worked as a clerk at Food Lion, would always put some money and spare change in her pocket before she went to work in case any customer needed help paying for food.
“I know one day she went to the grocery store with us and she came out with this bag and she goes, ‘drive over under that tree over there. There’s a woman over there. … I’ve got some stuff for her,’” Gagne said.
Her mother handed the homeless woman a bag stuffed with food and money, she said. It wasn’t Davis’ first time helping the less fortunate, her daughters said, and to carry on her legacy of brightening the world one good deed at a time seemed a fitting tribute.
It’s like an open wound and it won’t heal.
Gagne and Wells are asking people who commit an “act of kindness” to share that act on social media sites with #purpleformae and #maeshelpinghand to pay the kindness forward. They are also inviting fellow do-gooders to share their posts on a Facebook page dedicated to honoring Davis.
“This world would be so much more peaceful if people would help one another and be kind,” Gagne said.
Frances “Mae” Davis was a day away from celebrating her 79th birthday when police say she was found slumped over in the front passenger seat of her car in the Myrtle Beach Mall parking lot Jan. 8. Davis died from a gunshot wound. Her purse was missing.
Wells said she had been out shopping with her mother Jan. 8, and they stopped at J.C. Penney at the mall a little before noon. Davis told her to go in without her, she said.
Wells estimated she was in the store about 15 minutes, and when she returned to the car she found Davis bleeding and unresponsive. She noticed her mother’s purse was missing as she spoke with an emergency dispatcher on the phone.
“There have been no new developments” in the case, said Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department. “We are always looking for additional or new information.”
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed Davis. The family has agreed to match the reward.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 843-915-8477. Tips can be anonymous.
Gagne and Wells say they just want the person who killed their mother to be off the streets.
Davis’ daughters continue to go through grief counseling, but the pain of losing their mother two weeks after Christmas never goes away.
“It’s like an open wound and it won’t heal,” Wells said.
They’re asking anyone with information to come forward.