A 22-year-old Thai-American woman ended up a billionaire after inheriting unexpected fortune from her deceased grandmother.
Earlier this year, Erica Jasmine Baldwin Gibson received a letter stating that her Californian grandmother left her $1 billion.
Dextra Baldwin Gibson died in 2010 and the amount she left in bonds and stocks comes from the family’s oil company.
Erica’s mother, Prakong, met her father, Kendrick Baldwin Gibson, while working at a salon in Bangkok decades ago.
The two eventually got together. Kendrick proposed to marry Prakong and invited her to live with him in the U.S. Soon, they lived in Hawaii and had Erica.
Unfortunately, Kendrick was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2000. The family was emotionally and financially devastated at the time.
“During the three years that my husband received [cancer] treatment, we spent a lot of money. By the time he passed, I barely had money to host his funeral. His mother sent me the money for the funeral, but after that, I decided to support myself.”
Since then, Prakong and Erica struggled to make ends meet.
Left with $100, she had to seek help from a church to feed Erica.
Eventually, Prakong filed for aid from the U.S. government and received $2,000. Pulling herself together, she used this money to import Thai woodwork and sell them.
Business went well and she soon opened her own restaurant on the island of Kauai.
Meanwhile, Erica decided not to push through with college to help her mother run the restaurant.
Little did she know that her life would turn for the better as their family lawyer broke the news earlier this year that her grandmother Dextra left her a whopping billion dollars.
“My grandmother still thought of me.”
“We still continued to run our restaurant and didn’t rely on that money. We already liked what we had. We didn’t want to change.”
To make matters even better, Prakong discovered that the land her mother owns in Thailand had mineral water beneath it, prompting her to think of a mineral water business.
They also do charity work in Thailand, donating 100,000 baht ($3,057) to the Phaya Thai Welfare Center, which helps take care of orphans.
Left with an enormous fortune, Erica now plans to go to college. The mother-and-daughter are currently in Thailand to finally start their mineral water business in Kanchanaburi, according to The Nation.
Prakong plans to stay in her hometown of Suphan Buri permanently, and buy an elephant for a local temple, which used to have one that she rode on as a child.