Talk about how a dedicated caring nurse get rewarded big time.
A billionaire in the United Kingdom has passed on a good fortune to her Filipino nurse who took care of her for more than 20 years, amidst enraged relatives.
Little did Filipina Hadassah Peri know about her fate when she was hired by a reclusive Huguette Clark as caregiver. Since then, the two had been inseparable.
Besides their Catholic upbringing, the two had little in common. Nonetheless, the Filipino nurse would soon spend 12 hours a day, seven days a week with her ultra-rich patient — playing cards, taking walks and watching The Smurfs.
Peri would later learn that Clark, the youngest child of Senator William Clark, who once rivalled John Rockefeller for the title of the richest man in the US, stayed away from the limelight and affluent lifestyle. Instead she confined herself in a private New York hospital room.
Huguette checked into hospital with face cancer in March 1991 and refused to leave. She stayed in the same room for 7,300 nights and even sacked one private nurse who suggested she go home.
Soon as the duo’s friendship bloomed, Clark would lavish her nurse with gifts, including seven homes and a Bentley Peri’s family were hesitant to drive. She also offered them a Cezanne painting and an antique violin. She would later selling them and giving the cash instead because they didn’t know what to do with them.
By the time Clark died in May 2011, just short of her 105th birthday, she had given Hadassah more than £18 million over 20 years. She also left her another £8.75 million in her will. While the amount is significant, it was a small change for Huguette Clark, who said money was “a menace to happiness” after inheriting £600 million in 1925.
Clark had plenty of properties — three New York apartments overlooking Central Park with 42 rooms decorated with paintings by Monet and Renoir — which remained empty until her death. She had a mansion in Connecticut and a huge beach house in Santa Barbara, Calif., which she never visited in the 60 years she owned them.
Huguette was 18 when her father died, leaving her his fortune. At first she regularly graced the society pages, but after her brief marriage to William Gower ended in divorce, Huguette shut herself away from the public view.
Then came Hadassah.
“When the other nurses couldn’t get her to take her medication they would get Hadassah on the phone, or just pretend to.” says Bill. “As soon as they said, ‘Hadassah says you’re supposed to do this’, she would comply,” Bill Dedman, who wrote about the reclusive billionaire’s life said.
She would soon shower Peri and her family with gifts, which grew more lavish over time.
There were cheques for £45,000 in Christmas cards and a rare Stradivarius violin for Hadassah’s son David – even though he had given up his music lessons. But the most extravagant gift was a painting by the celebrated French artist Cezanne, according to Mirror website.
Hadassah says “Sometimes I would say,‘You gave me a cheque already today’. But she would say: ‘You have a lot of expense, you can use it’. I accepted the cheques because we have a lot of bills. Madam is very generous. I don’t ask for it.”
“Madam cared deeply about my family and all the devotion that I give,” Peri, who is a mother of three and married to a cab driver, recalls.
While none of the 19 relatives never met Clark, they initially asked for 75% of her £230million estate.
“She could be very generous, but wouldn’t just hand over money to strangers,” Dedman said.
Last September Hadassah agreed to give up the cash she was left in the will and pay back £3 million worth of gifts. She was allowed to keep the rest.
“Huguette thought her family were just out for her wealth. Of course, she was right. They never reached out to her while she was alive – they only reached out for her money after she died,” Dedman concluded.