By Shayla Reaves

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A community is making sure health care workers are remembered this holiday season.

Elle Johnson, an ICU nurse, saves lives for a living — and some of her neighbors just wanted to say thank you.

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“To have this little glimmer of something hopeful is really, really great,” Johnson said.

Natalie Webster is an Excelsior realtor.

“A part of my job is connecting people,” Webster said.

A Thanksgiving idea brought the women together.

“I wanted to do something that would acknowledge some frontline workers, and bring some, you know, levity to a difficult situation,” Webster said.

(credit: CBS)

The realtor teamed up with Santa and local businesses to surprise Johnson and her family.

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“She’s doing 17-hour days, and it’s not going away anytime soon,” Webster said. “She goes home to these two little kids, and how do you do that?”

A visit with old St. Nick was just the beginning. Melissa Davis owns Bella on the Bay in Excelsior. She and two other business owners donated services to Johnson. For Davis, it’s personal. She lost her mom to COVID-19.

“My mom was the kind of person that … if you would meet her you were instantly friends,” Davis said.

Johnson says she was astounded by Davis’s gesture.

“To know that somebody is on the other end of this loss and found the strength to be able to give something back, I mean that is tremendous,” Johnson said.

Davis says her mom would be proud, and she would have said, “That’s how I raised you.”

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“She had a smile that could light up a room, and that’s what I think about when I’m doing this, just that I know she’s smiling,” Davis said.

Shayla Reaves