He invited them, and they came. Antonio Basco, whose wife, 63-year-old Margie Reckard, was killed in the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, didn't have family of his own in the El Paso area and was worried not many people would show at her funeral, so he put out a call to the general public in advance of her services Friday, asking anyone who could to come pay their respects. CNN and the New York Times report that first the flowers started pouring in to the funeral home, nearly 1,000 arrangements from as far away as Japan and New Zealand; then came about 10,000 messages and kind words for Reckard and her family. Finally, on Friday, hundreds of people from all across the country lined the streets outside of La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center in El Paso, waiting to pay tribute to Reckard.
Per funeral organizers, the indoor of the center was filled to capacity with 400 people, while about 700 others waited outside in the blistering temps to support Reckard and Basco. "This is amazing," said Basco, who the AP notes went outside to greet and hug attendees personally. "You took a stranger off the street." What spurred people to come out in droves for a man they didn't know? "I didn't want him to suffer alone," one woman who flew in from San Francisco tells CNN. An El Paso man who lost his son two years ago concurs. "We know how hard it was for us and we were surrounded by family," he tells the Times. "I said we are going to this funeral to give him a hug and let him know we can be his family." As of Saturday morning, more than $31,000 has been raised to help Basco via GoFundMe. "She was a lady, and she was the love of my life," Basco says of Reckard. (Read more El Paso shooting stories.)