In the song 'Moments' by Canadian country musicians, Emerson Drive, a homeless man explains to another that 'he hasn't always been this way.' That he's had his moments, times in his life when he has faced fears, overcome adversity and achieved greatness...
I've had my moments, days in the sun,
Moments I was second to none,
Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn't do.
Like that cool night on the E. Street Bridge,
When a young man almost ended it,
I was right there, wasn't scared a bit,
And I helped to pull him through.
Lookin' at me now, you might not know it.
Oh, lookin' at me now, you might not know it,
But I've had my moments.
It is these moments that the homeless man is most proud of and shares most often. Moments when his actions defined who he is, like when he talked a stranger, a young man, out of committing suicide.
In everyone’s life, when faced with a fork in the road, decisions define. Actions speak volumes.
The following are true and truly inspiring moments, defining moments in the lives of everyday people who also just happen to be homeless.
TORONTO (2017): Jason Kirkwood, a special constable with Toronto Community Housing withdrew money from an ATM near his work. He was halfway down the road when he heard an “unkept” man yelling after him, running to catch up.
Jason Kirkwood waited. It was Danny MacKillop, a homeless man who has spent the last 8+ years living in stairwells and alleys in downtown Toronto.
“He looks at me,” says Kirkwood, "And asks me how much money I just took out of the machine.” Guarded, Jason Kirkwood tells MacKillop the amount.
“Then (MacKillop) asks me to count my money.,” continues Kirkwood. "He pulls 40 dollars out of his pocket and tells me I left it in the machine. He could have easily just kept the money and I would have been none the wiser.”
"People never cease to amaze me,” wrote Kirkwood in a Facebook post.
Adapted from CityNews, 2/5/18
NEW YORK CITY (2015): In a social experiment, a child is placed on the wintery streets of New York where conditions were extremely chilly.
The child is clothed in only a torn t-shirt, jeans and socks. He uses a plastic bag to shelter himself from the bitter wind and conditions, as he spends 2 hours on the side of the street, before he is offered help.
So many people walked past and acknowledged this child, but didn’t offer to help him.
Finally, when the child did receive some attention, it came from a man who was homeless, a man who had literally nothing himself.
You don’t have to have material wealth to show compassion.
LOS ANGELES (2019): The water level in the Los Angeles River was rising swiftly amid a winter storm, leaving one man particularly worried about other homeless people who use the river for shelter.
The L.A. River can go up to 30 mph. Under those conditions, when you are in the river, the force of just six inches of water is enough to knock someone off your feet.
Sergio Herrera, who has lived along the river for 20+ years, helped a woman leave a storm drain she sleeps in before the L.A. River became too treacherous.
Herrera said the homeless woman he helped told him she suffers from depression, so he felt compelled to make sure she got out safely.
TORONTO (2016): Carl Tebo's journey into homelessness began 20 years ago. At his lowest point, he was living under the Gardiner near the Spadina ramp, panhandling on the Lakeshore.
A street worker steered Tebo to St. Michael's Hospital, where he was recruited for a study — the largest ever in Canada — to demonstrate the principles of a housing-first approach to homelessness. For Carl Tebo, it was life-changing.
Two years later, Tebo is using his own apartment in a low-income tower on Weston Road as a one-man shelter and food bank. Since leaving the street, he's put three other homeless men up at his apartment, two of whom he's also helped to find housing — not to mention supplying bag lunches and meals to neighbours on a tight budget.
"I can't help it," says Tebo. "I got lots of help too from strangers, helping me out, so I've got to give back.”
Source: CBC News, 11/28/16
SALT LAKE CITY (2018): A homeless man watches as a driver is spotted dumping a tiny dog out of their car onto the busy highway. The homeless man quickly scooped up the abandoned dog, determined to keep it warm, safe, and loved.
He knows how scary being alone on the streets can be.
Hours later, the man can be seen sitting by a freeway exit holding a sign asking for money or work. The dog, a Chihuahua, is huddled up in a blanket in his lap, fighting off the cold.
Appreciating the companionship, but knowing the dog deserves more than what he could offer, the homeless man shares his story with a passerby who then shares the story on Facebook.
Minutes after the post, a lady was on her way to pick up the dog to foster him. She offered the homeless man $50 as a show of gratitude for keeping the dog safe. He said, 'No, I just wanted to do the right thing.’
People say that it's when we experience tough times in life and end up with nothing that we really appreciate what it feels like to have a helping hand.
COLUMBIA, SC (2017): A homeless man came to the aid of a CPD officer who had been shoved to the ground by a suspect.
The officer was attempting to arrest a man accused of assault with a weapon. However, the officer was not able to restrain him until the homeless man sprung into action.
The homeless man received a certificate recognizing his “extraordinary actions to preserve life and aid public safety.”
SAO PAULO (2015): A gunman, Luiz Antonio da Silva, grabbed a woman from the street. There he held her at gunpoint before the steps of the São Paulo Cathedral. That is when Francisco Erasmo Rodrigues de Lima, a homeless man, stepped in.
Francisco noticed the woman in distress. He intervened, tackling the assailant, saving the life of a stranger, and paying for it with his own life.
For those who are homeless, it’s not uncommon to make sacrifices. It is not uncommon to go without shelter and forgo meals. But to sacrifice one's life?! While Francisco Erasmo Rodrigues de Lima did not choose his lot in life, he did chose to risk his life in support of another human being.
He made the supreme sacrifice. Now Francisco is being hailed a hero. Social media has praised Francisco’s brave and selfless actions.