Homeless Man Shocked By A Stranger’s Kindness
It’s been said, “It only takes one person, and one act of kindness, to inspire others and create change.” James, homeless on the streets, had his world changed by the love of a complete stranger.
Escaping The Cold
James Eppler, 28 years old, had been living on the streets of Portland, on and off, since he was 16 when a family situation caused him to leave home. James and a friend had taken refuge on the porch of a vacant house, attempting to flee the cold and heavy rain. When James chose this location, he was simply seeking shelter.
Right Place At The Right Time
Chris Crever bought the house that James had been using for shelter, two months after James started living there. Chris purchased this house on the corner of Madison and 19th Avenue as a business investment, and immediately began tidying up the property. When Chris threw away the wet blankets and bedding he found scattered about, James returned later to find that his “home” was gone. James shared his response with KOIN 6 News:
“We looked in the trash, and ya know…the stuff’s gone. What do we do?”
Little did James know, fate was stepping in…
The Power Of Words
One Friday afternoon as James sat on the porch steps of the house trying to figure out with his friend where to go next, Chris arrived. He nicely explained that the two men would have to leave. To Chris’ surprise, James responded very politely and thanked him.
James shared his feelings about being asked to go:
“The fact that he said it so respectfully and kindly, like sure. Thank you for not having a problem with us being here so far, and for treating us like a human being.”
Chris turned to walk towards his car, but instantly had a change of heart.
Bringing Back To Life
Chris was astonished at James’ expression of gratitude, especially since he was asking James to leave what had become his temporary home. Chris decided to help and returned to the porch where the two men were preparing to leave.
Chris told James to meet him back at that very spot, at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, and he would put him to work. James was there awaiting his new employer at 7:45 a.m. Chris quickly put James to work, fixing up the very house he had been using for shelter. James, and the house, would be brought back to life.
A Place To Call Home
After leaving the shelter the porch had provided, James began sleeping under a local bridge at night. Despite the cold, wet clothes he wore, he showed up ready to work each morning. Chris decided to offer him a room in the house for the time being, as well as a place nearby to shower and freshen up. James shared:
“Like we always hope for something, ya know, a little help. Not necessarily money, but a place to go take a shower everyday, be able to at least look forward to have a reason to wake up.”
Chris’ generosity and kindness were giving James the “reason to wake up” that he had been hoping for.
Lend A Helping Hand
Chris helped in the search for a permanent job and more sufficient housing. James now has a full-time job, and couldn’t be more grateful for the support he’s received. Chris hopes that this story will encourage others to reach out to those in need.
From The Heavens Above
James feels very lucky to have been given a reason to wake up each morning, and he shared his happiness:
“The fact that it’s around Christmas time, and ya know, I was raised with a Christmas every year. It was a huge thing. It’s almost like God smiling down.”
Maybe the most life-changing gifts come without wrapping paper and bows . . .
Check out the full heartfelt story in this video.
Paying It Forward
Jesse Jackson once said, “Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up.” Let us all learn to reach out to those in need more often, making our world a kinder, gentler place. Share this story, and encourage more random acts of kindness!