Gicela Tejada Oloroso was born in a political clan in Capiz. She migrated to the US as a nurse at the age of 22 in 1972. For most, Pinoys getting a visa it meant she struck out, but it wasn't til 1991 when Gicela was assigned to a reclusive old lady named Huguette that she struck gold. By then, Gicela was already married to a Jewish cab driver and changed her named to Hadassah Peri when she converted to Orthodox Judaism.
Huguette Clark is a reclusive millionaire kinda like a female Howard Hughes, only sane enough to keep her fortune away from greedy relatives who never met her. As for her staff, the Filipino nurse included they were given a little bit of her fortune (by little bit that's around 60M) the rest around $400 million went to charity and to an arts foundation at her estate. Her will is being contested in court by 19 blood relatives, all claiming the 104 year-old was emotionally manipulated or groomed by her caregivers to give her fortune away. That is, to those who showed her the most care during her remaining years on earth. So who really deserves all that wealth?
According to the book Empty Mansions, the Filipina Nurse Gicela Oloroso didn't take a sick day off her whole 20 years with Huguette, sacrificing time off with her three children to care for the old lady. But the returns however yielded a generous bounty from Huguette. Like Gicela says, her employer was "Very, very generous”.
According to the National Post, Huguette Clark gave the mother of three with gifts of $31 million, paying for five homes, including the three-storey, waterfront house in Brooklyn where the Peris live, and a $200,000 Bentley that the nurse has since complained is ill-suited to the city. She also awarded her another $30-million – worth about half that after taxes – in her will.
Call it the 'exploitation of the elderly' or 'gratitude for loyalty' - but Gicela Oloroso is not the only Filipina to have inherited such a vast sum of wealth from an employer. It's not an isolated incident, but end-of-life care seems to give some carers a special place at some of their patient's last will. It just turns out Gicela's patient had more to give than most, more than a heirloom watch or a Thank-you note, but a life-changing gift of extreme wealth. We can only hope Gicela uses her new found fortune to change people's lives as well.