Fort Lauderdale

Big Mama Is Known for Always Giving. Now It's Her Time to Receive

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Essie Reed, known in Fort Lauderdale as “Big Mama,” was surprised Friday with keys to a 2017 Dodge Journey as an early Christmas gift. 

It’s a role reversal for the woman who is known for giving to others. Her 38-year-old son, Brennan Reed, can attest to that. 

“She’s been doing this as long as I’ve been born. It’s non-stop even through our trials and tribulations," he said.  

Brennan took his mom to the car dealership with the excuse the business was going to donate toys to her organization called “Team of Life.”  Through the non-profit, Big Mama has been able to collect and distribute food, toys and joy to children and adults of all ages for nearly 40 years. 

But today, it’s Miss Essie, as she is also known, who receives. 

Miss Essie has served as a tentpole for her community for nearly four decades, sometimes neglecting her own needs, which is why local radio personality Alex “Big Lip” Chisholm stepped in and helped coordinate the gift.

“Once I called Big Mama and we talked, I realized that she was going through her own struggles, so I went to her home in Fort Lauderdale to go talk to her and unbeknownst to me, she had 13 people living with her, eight kids and also other relatives that she’s taking care of, and no reliable transportation,” said the radio DJ. 

Still even as Big Mama receives the gift, her mind is on how she can use it to serve others.

“(It will make it possible) for me to go and pick up my child if they call me, I can go. If their mother can’t get to work or something is going on, I can go without any problems,” Big Mama said.

She was brought to tears as she not only received a car, but a year’s worth of auto insurance and $1,000 in cash.  

“Even though we all have on our masks, but if you all can just smile along with Big Mama and keep walking beside me,” Reed said.

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