After hearing his story, a woman decides to help a homeless man she met get his tiny home.
Two strangers who he met randomly on a random day helped a homeless man slowly get back on his feet.
David McDonald, 46 years old, is from Kingston, Canada. He has been homeless since 2016, after a series of unfortunate events.
Last July, he was passing Kim Cormier’s house on his e-scooter when he busted a tire. He asked Kim—who was working outside on her laptop—if she would watch his belongings while he went to Canadian Tire to get a new inner tube. Several of his things had been stolen recently, and he didn’t want to lose any more.
Kim invited David to dinner after he finished his Canadian Tire run. Andrew Embury was her partner. The trio got along well.
“Every time we have a conversation, there’s laughter,” David said.
David, who has experienced some difficult times over the past few years, was happy to have a nice meal with good friends.
He owned a Pioneer gas station in Kingston that earned him almost six figures per year. However, as gas prices rose and gas theft became more common, fewer customers came to his station. In 2010, he had to close the business.
Soon after, his house and car were destroyed. His decade-long relationship ended at the same time. It was tragedy after tragedy.
“I literally lost my whole life after the gas station — the life that I knew then,” David said.
He moved to Toronto with his teenage daughter. When she moved out, he took a bus to Vancouver, where was made homeless.
David was afraid he would die in B.C. so he packed his stuff nine months later. He walked and cycled over 3000 kilometers back to Ontario where he eventually settled in a park in Toronto.
“I couldn’t imagine being homeless. I cried,” David said. “And so it was hard for me to accept help — charity, I felt.”
After spending time with various relatives in Kingston, he returned home to the city at 2018’s end. David shared a one bedroom apartment with a stranger for the next year and half. The other tenants stole from him and threatened him with violence.
Kim met him shortly after he moved out of his apartment and started living in a tent. When it rained, he sought refuge in an abandoned trailer.
David, who has social anxiety, supplemented his $1,124 Ontario Disability Support Program payment by collecting cans throughout the city.
“I don’t use the services provided for [the] homeless because I feel that, although I’m homeless, other people are worse off than me,” he said.
He is able to find most of his needs in the trash, including food on some days.
“You have to swallow your pride when you’re homeless,” he said.
With their generous heart, Kim and Andrew have replaced David’s stolen belongings. Kim often gives her own items to David. Once, when she noticed that David’s feet were blistering from his ill-fitting shoes, Kim took her Birkenstocks off and gave them to him.
Kim and Andrew also gave David new clothes and a backpack that has a solar panel to charge the phone.
The couple invited David to move into their backyard earlier this month. David’s tent, donated by a sister he hadn’t seen in years, holds a queen-size mattress, a couch, and a fridge. When he needs to cook, he uses Kim’s outdoor fireplace. He also uses the couple’s washroom and laundry area.
“She’s done more than I can ever say thank you for,” David said.
And the man gives it back to them in his unique way.
“He has very good stories, and he’s just friendly and respectful,” Kim said. “It’s kind of nice to have someone come in and out, and someone to talk to, and a friend to rely on.”
Kim and Andrew didn’t stop there—they brainstormed ideas about giving David a more permanent home that can survive all seasons.
Kim, a mortgage agent, got the idea from Our Livable Solutions, a local organization. It’s still in the early stages, but the group plans to create a community of tiny homes to give the 400 homeless people in Ontario a roof over their heads.
Kim launched a GoFundMe to raise money for David’s new 80-square-foot living space. They raised enough money to purchase a fully insulated, weather-resistant, and fireproof micro-home for David.
The plan is to transfer the property over into David’s name. But in the meantime, he would still need to use the couple’s house for plumbing.
Although the house can be transported, David will always be welcome at Kim and Andrew’s home. David is now part the couple’s family, even though they were strangers when they first met.
David will hopefully be able to get back to the life he used.
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