7 On Your Side steps in when stair contractor stalls work

MERRICK, Long Island (WABC) -- Even though her business was shut down because of COVID-19, a young mom found a way to give back by helping out her community and loaning a local business owner money.

But that generosity wound up costing her when she got burned by a stair contractor -- so she stepped to 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda for help.

Deep, long cracks in every stair weren't noticeable until Jessica Dennehy and her family started spending so much time at home and on their porch packaging up face masks to donate to essential workers

Even though their businesses, MadMen Barbershops, were closed because of COVID and no unemployment kicked in, when PPE was in short supply at the beginning of the pandemic, the Dennehy family paid out of her own pocket to procure face masks from an industry contact to protect first responders in their Long Island community.

"We did what we thought was right, this community supports our business, we are a mom and pop shop," Dennehy said.

Supporting other locals is why she hired a long-time customer to repair the broken granite on her steps.

She gave the contractor a deposit of $850 and then things got weird -- first he no-showed several times, then he hit her up for more cash saying he needed to get his remaining payroll covered.

"That just pulled at my heartstrings," Dennehy said. "Obviously that played on my weakness and my kindness for small business."

"I thought to myself it's a pandemic, we're all struggling, and if I can help someone get their paycheck, I will," she said.

So she gave him the extra $400, but a big heart turned into a bigger headache after loaning her contractor money because he still never started the stair work.

He then texted her that he was "beyond embarrassed" and "promised a refund," but that money never materialized.

"He had not talked to me for over a week, I sent him texts which weren't delivered, which made me believe he blocked me," Dennehy said.

That's when Jessica contacted 7 On Your Side. We called the contractor, and while we were Zooming, he showed up to give Dennehy $600.

7 On Your Side kept on him for two more weeks and eventually got Dennehy two more payments.

After waiting since Mother Day, the young mom's salon is now reopen and she been repaid her $1,250 in full.

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