Some of us may never know the true horrors that war veterans have gone through, but it’s safe to say that they served us in a deep and profound way that deserves nothing but the utmost respect.
So this story of sheer goodness that came one veteran’s way is a full-circle tale of heartwarming help.
A Tough Day
One day, a 92-year-old veteran named Louis Hicks was having a tough day in Austin, Texas.
He realized that people had been stealing power tools out of his back shed. He didn’t know what else to do so he dialed 9-1-1 to report the crime. An officer named Chasity Salazar responded.
Salazar checked out the shed and the property and then asked if she could have a look inside the house. She must have sensed that Hicks needed help, but she didn’t want to spook him. Eventually, he agreed, and she went inside, where she found something horrific: Hicks was using his gas stove to keep warm.
Many people know the dangers of leaving a gas stove on, but Hicks had no choice. His heater had previously burned a hole in the floor, and he couldn’t afford a new one. He knew he had to stay warm somehow. Still, Salazar didn’t say anything, and she left. But silently, she was already hatching a plan.
After leaving Hicks, Salazar contacted her coworkers at the Austin Police Department. They, along with Austin Cops 4 Charities, Austin Police Association, and St. David’s Foundation, have helped people in need of air conditioning or heaters in the past.
Finally, Salazar was able to get her hands on a new electric heater, which she then delivered to Hicks as a big surprise.
“That’s just what we do as police officers. I had realized that he’s using the oven. I know that’s not safe. His gas is on,” Salazar told ABC News.
Hicks was immediately touched and explained how he hated to ask for anything because, as a veteran, he felt like sometimes people would look down on him.
“I’ve never had no one to do nothing for me,” Hicks told the outlet, fighting tears. “After my mother passed away and left me to take care of my two sisters … nobody never did nothing to help me.”
Paying It Back
For Salazar, helping out Hicks was her way of thanking him for his service and for honoring his past. “He’s just offered me a lot of kindness, too, so to know that he’s also served, now I’m able to serve and give back to people like him,” she explained.
The heater was just the first act of kindness, however. Salazar knew she wanted to do more to help this man, so she also spread the word through local news reports and within the community. Soon, people began bringing Hicks coffee, food, and other treats. The community also banded together to get the veteran some of the items he needed for his home.
“It means everything. The things I’ve been trying to do since the ’40s…I’ve been asking for help. And now, it just came in. God is good,” Hicks wrapped.
Finding Opportunities to Help
This story is a sweet reminder that not everyone in life knows how to ask for help or even feels as though they’re worthy of it. But by paying attention to others and asking yourself what they might need, you may find some surprising answers.
Many of us fall upon hard times in life, and no one ever really knows what someone else is going through. But by leading with compassion and understanding, we can all make our corner of the world a better place. So lend that hand, make that donation, or look for old items that someone else may need.
A person might not ask you for any of it, but it could be the thing they need most in life.