DADE CITY — Christy McBride doesn't know how to handle all of this.
After a story ran in the Times on March 10 about her offer to work in exchange for dental treatment, more than 20 people contacted McBride through her e-mail address on Craigslist and wanted to help her. Another few dozen called the Times, trying to find her, and another dozen sent her checks to pay for treatment – or, if she no longer needed medical services, to just help her and her family.
The total money donated a few days after the story ran was nearly $1,000.
"It feels awkward," McBride said. "It was never my intention to ask for anything for free."
Several dentists contacted McBride, who is 31 and had been living in hellish pain because of a tooth that broke on Feb. 24. It cracked in half; a result of years of subconsciously grinding her teeth. McBride is married and has two children. Her husband is a disabled veteran and McBride is a business student at Pasco-Hernando Community College. McBride posted a message on Craigslist, offering to clean, do secretarial work, yard work, etc., in exchange for treatment. In two weeks, she had no replies.
One kind dentist who read the story offered to fix all of McBride's dental problems for free — the broken tooth and whatever else was wrong. But McBride said thank you, but no. She doesn't want anything for free.
She had her tooth pulled by a Tampa dentist on Tuesday, the day after the story ran. That dentist, also, offered his services for free. But McBride insists on a payment plan for the $140 bill. She also is going to see another dentist who contacted her, to fix her cavities. There, again, she wants a payment plan.
McBride is thankful for everyone who responded to the story.
"It's wonderful," she said, her voice still sounding a bit flustered. She's used to doing everything on her own and not asking for help. Her mouth feels so much better — and she's excited about not having to eat mashed potatoes anymore. McBride isn't sure what she's going to do with the donated money. Again, she's flustered by it all. Her daughter will soon need braces, she said. She could use it for that.
"Everyone was so nice," McBride said. "It's unbelievable."
Erin Sullivan can be reached at