When an 83-year-old homeless man walked into a Lowe’s store to avoid the cold, snowy weather outside, he was unexpectedly met with a series of kind gestures from total strangers. Finally, a police officer was called to assist him further. Upon arriving, the officer took one look at the man’s wet shoes and socks, and knew how he could help too.
Homelessness is a problem in all parts of the world. In the United States, 1 out of 50 children, or 1.5 million children, become homeless each year, per a report released by The National Center on Family Homelessness, reported TIME. The number rose to 1 out of 30 children, or 2.5 million, by 2013. Homeless old men are also a major concern, especially with regards to their health.
Here’s a homeless old man, whose story and picture were spread far and wide after being posted online. The account serves as a reminder of how difficult some people’s situations are, and how a little kindness can warm up people’s hearts in the harsh and cold winter days.
One cold winter day in 2013, a storm drove an 83-year-old homeless man into a Lowe’s Home Improvement store to avoid freezing outside.
El Paso Police Officer Jose Flores from Texas received a phone call from an employee in-store, and quickly came over to help.
When the officer arrived, he noticed that several Lowe’s employees and customers in the store had bought food and found a shelter for the man, identified as Charles Holder. They also collected some money for him, and had called the police to help give him a ride to the shelter.
When Holder saw the officer, he thought he was in trouble.
“I am not harming anyone,” Charles told the cashier, as reported by MailOnline. “I don’t want to go to jail or the hospital for being here. I’m just cold.”
But he soon realized that wasn’t the case.
The temperature at the time had dropped below freezing point, and there had been almost 3 inches of snow outside. Seeing the old man’s socks and torn shoes were drenched, Officer Flores decided to buy a pair of new boots for him to replace his old ones.
The elderly man was grateful and in tears. “They helped me,” Holder told KFOX14. “They’re a great bunch of people; they’re very humane.”
The reasons for homelessness in the United States extend from not being able to afford a house, divorce, physical disability, mental illness, having no family or supportive relatives, fire, natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods), unemployment, poverty, gambling, low-paying jobs, and so on.
The homeless population in the United States includes children, veterans, the aged, as well as families and domestic violence victims. To help these homeless people, there are efforts from federal legislation and non-profit organizations to make available affordable housing, and allow greater accessibility to healthcare services.
Whatever the conditions or reasons that cause people to be homeless, it’s these unconditional acts of kindness that are most heartwarming.