Leslie David is all about adventure – she explores and photographs abandoned buildings around her hometown of Ontario, Canada. But she didn’t know her life was going to change forever when she saw the decrepit house with a caved-in roof and overgrown weeds.
Leslie eyed the property and decided that this was a perfect candidate for her “#abandoned” photography series. She circled the outside of the house and found a way she thought she could enter! From the condition of the home, there was no way that anyone could live inside.
Not What She Thought
When she managed to work her way inside, she noticed an older man standing in the living room. His name was Lawrence and he actually lived in the disheveled house! Leslie shared what happened next on her website.
“He has a hard time getting around so he spends most of his time in there. Alone. He is missing his right eye and has cataracts infecting the left.
Even after noticing a stranger essentially helping themselves to his life he was nothing but sweet and kind to me. He was even nice enough to let me take his picture which I will always treasure. He is a beautiful soul and I plan on visiting him a lot.”
“I’m posting this picture in hopes that it will inspire at least one person to reach out to someone they may have lost contact with or perhaps just forgot about. These old souls are still full of life and I feel blessed to have met this one. I’m making him some meals to take over this week. I don’t think he’s eating very well, if at all. Some veggie soup and mashed potatoes will hopefully help fill him up a bit. Easy to chew but good for the soul.
He overwhelmed me with how kind he was … I can only hope to return the favor a bit.”
The young woman thanked Lawrence for his hospitality and promised to return. Little did they know the friendship that was about to blossom from this odd encounter!
Just Wanted To Be Loved
Just as she promised, Leslie returned to Lawrence’s home later that week with food in hand!
“Tonight was the first of what will be many dinner dates with my new friend. Over the course of 3 hours we ate and drank and laughed. I was fortunate enough to hear about his life… His struggles and his triumphs. This truly was one of the best experiences of my life and I can’t wait to share another meal with such a gentle soul.
He is the kindest man. He has melted my heart. I brought him some chili, tea biscuits and some snacks for the next few days until I can make it back later this week. I hope to have most of the trash cleared out and a few repairs done by the end of the summer. Give him a bit of his home back.”
This was another big promise to make to Lawrence, and she had every intention of keeping it.
In the meantime, Leslie brought over dinner from her home, work and take-out restaurants to feed Lawrence. Without knowing someone out there loved him, he didn’t have the motivation to feed and clean up after himself.
He even went four days without seeking medical attention after a serious stroke – he just didn’t care anymore. Meeting Leslie gave him that motivation to live again!
Making A Little Room
The condition of Lawrence’s home was far from ideal – and after his latest string of health scares, it was no longer safe for him to live in a place like that. Leslie knew she had to begin the renovations she promised immediately. She worked tirelessly to transform his dingy abode into a semi-decent home!
“I’ve managed to remove his old fridge, stove, and chest freezer, along with numerous bags of garbage. This was all made possible by a very generous company and a few awesome boys with big hearts and strong lower backs. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and generosity during this period in my life – and in his. He is beyond grateful, not just to me. He knows you are all following his story. After a few recent visits to the doctors, it’s apparent that his health is declining, rapidly.
These may be the last few months I have with my friend and I plan to make them as comfortable and enjoyable for him as possible. He’s informed me of his funeral arrangements and has asked me to be there. I told him I wouldn’t have it any other way.
He shared something with me that will stay with me forever. He said the day I showed up was the best day of his life. As self-righteous as I feel writing that, I understand how he feels. The best day of my life was when I met him. He gave me the chance to really do something for someone – an act of kindness with no expectation of reward. It’s a rare opportunity and I’m glad I was able to accept the challenge.”
Leslie was happy to help her ailing friend any way she could, and he was eternally thankful!
Living A Little
After the stress of the renovation was complete, they began to bond even more and share things with each other that no one else in the world knew!
“Tonight we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. He explained to me how his injuries started in 2000 when a bull fractured his hip. He told me of his brother’s illness and how they have lost touch. He said I was a blessing to him. I told him I couldn’t put into words what he means to me.”
What Lawrence didn’t understand is that Leslie appreciated his company just as much as he did hers.
Their First Outing
Lawrence even asked Leslie to accompany him to a church dinner! She gladly accepted and they feasted on farm-fresh meals from local vendors and pies from the farmers’ talented wives! Leslie made it clear to him that she wasn’t going anywhere.
As the days passed, Leslie could see her friend’s health was continuing to decline. She knew that it was time for him to move somewhere a little more stable.
So he was transferred to a local retirement facility and is living the remainder of his days with people who can really look after him! Leslie still visits regularly and brings food and her precious pooch along, too!
Enjoying His New Home
Even though it’s not the place he spent his years cooped up in, Lawrence loves his new home. He knows that none of this would be possible without Leslie and thanks her for everything she’s done during each visit!
One Small Action Changed Everything
By trying to photograph Lawrence’s home, Leslie met a new friend that she’ll be able to love and cherish forever. Their relationship really is special!