"I went home and was eating my chicken, and this thought just dawned on me: 'What if I pay for the girl's school?'"

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Popeyes Chicken
Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When Donald Carter rolled up to the drive-thru window at a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Kansas City, he noticed something different about the woman who took his order. For about 30 seconds, Carter, a Kansas City police officer, spoke to Shajuana Mays, and was struck by her "spark." She told him she dreamed of going to nursing school and one day becoming a nurse.

"I went home and was eating my chicken, and this thought just dawned on me: ‘What if I pay for the girl's school?'" he tells Today.

So Carter did some research and found that nursing school cost about $1,500. Next he set up a GoFundMe page hoping some of his friends would donate.

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"I figured if I could get about 300 of my Facebook friends to put up $5 each, we could do it no problem," he wrote on the page. "I'd do a Facebook Live broadcast presenting her with the gift if we pulled it off. Just a random act of kindness from a few hundred strangers."

In less than three days, Carter raised more than $13,000—almost 9x his original $1,500 goal. Like he promised, with cameras rolling, he surprised Mays with the good news at the restaurant.

"I don't even know how to describe it in words," she says in the video. "It's an emotional feeling right now that's unexplainable, but it's all good and happy emotions and feelings. I'm excited—I actually get to pursue something that I've always wanted to be doing for a very long time."

Want to help Mays fulfill her dream? Carter is still accepting donations here.