A simple hello

On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world post a good news story as a way of lightening the news that assails us from every angle. I am late with my post – I found this one from googthingsguy dated today.

How to participate if you wish: ***Use the badge and #WATWB hashtag and share on social media.***Keep your post to below 500 words – say how and why the good news affected you and supply the link to your story. (I have not provided the link this, this time round; I have edited it slightly). ***If you’d like to take part in sharing a post for good things happening around the world with #WATWB, you can add your links HERE. This month’s hosts for the #WATWB are:  Inderpreet Uppal Shilpa Garg,  Sylvia McGrath , Peter NenaBelinda WitzenHausen. Please link to them in your WATWB posts and go say hi! And our thanks to them for hosting.

A simple hello

Sea Point, Cape Town – One evening, two weeks ago, Toni Venter stopped at her local shop on her way home to pick up a few things. On the way back to her car she noticed a homeless man, one she sees daily, sitting in his usual spot.

But this time instead of just walking by, she decided to stop and speak to him. This is how she met Thomas, and this is how both their lives changed that day.

 Thomas’ life fell apart when his entire family was murdered in an armed robbery He lost all hope and his way, and couldn’t pick up the pieces again which is how he ended up living on the streets.

“You can see the pain and sadness in his eyes, a broken man needing human kindness to uplift him again. That evening I promised Thomas that I would somehow help him.”

Toni immediately contacted her friend, Peter Greenwall, who arranged to get the homeless man a hair cut, a clean-shave and a shower. Thomas told the two that for the first time in many years, he “looked and felt human” again.

Living on the street has many detrimental effects on a person’s health and well-being. Toni and Peter knew that cleaning him up was just one aspect that Thomas needed and together they started the journey to helping him get back on his feet.

Thomas’ teeth had badly deteriorated so Peter approached the Dental Wellness Trust of whom his sister, Dr Linda Greenwall, is the founder, to ask for assistance. Dr Clifford Yudelman, who is affiliated with the Dental Wellness Trust, immediately agreed to assist in repairing the damage done to his teeth.

Thomas had also previously worked in the security sector and Toni took to her social media to try find him work in the same field. She knew that someone would know someone, who would be able to help him and within 24 hours Teresa Zive of Talon Security Services in Sea Point saw the post and offered to help.

“I contacted PSIRA and confirmed his security certification, gave him a cellphone so that he could be contacted and between Teresa and myself we coordinated an interview for Thomas at her office.”

 The interview could not have gone better and Thomas was offered a position immediately.

“Thomas starts work tomorrow! I cannot begin to thank Teresa Woods Zive and Neil Zive for helping Thomas with more than just a job. They have given him his life back and restored his dignity.

It’s amazing what taking a few minutes of your time to talk to a person can do to change their lives.

Thank you to Peter Greenwall, Dr Linda Greenwall and Dr Clifford Yudelman as well!

Without your kindness and compassion this would never have been possible.”

“It’s stories like these that remind that a simple hello can lead to a million things, and an act of kindness has the power to change someone’s entire world!”

How a simple 'Hello' changed this man's life forever! Thomas

44 Comments on a simple hello

  1. Thanks Susan for sharing this beautiful and inspiring post on how simple acts in life can make a huge difference. I am so happy to comment here today and I am able to do so:) I have not been able to comment and it feels great to be connected again. Thanks once again.

    • Lovely that you’re reconnected Genevive thank you so much for coming by! Some acts are simple, some are enormous – the important thing I guess that action IS taken –

  2. After the previous times Toni walked on by, I wonder if she felt a nudge to say hello on this particular day. The way things came together makes me believe the time was right. Sometimes we are afraid or too busy to stop, but this story encourages me to pay attention to the nudges and take a chance. Just saying hello can make a difference.

  3. What a beautiful story that started with a simple hello. I wish more of us would reach out to the homeless in this way. Thanks for sharing this story, Susan, and your support of WATWB!

    • It’s been a pleasure being part of #WATWB Damyanti, for coming up 2 years (23 months I think)! I know that I love reading the stories that bloggers put up where we see humanity in action, acts of kindness, innovative ways in eg science that extend to those in need, ways of saving the planet, communities coming together in times of crisis and on and on – humbling stories, brave stories, simple stories, beautiful stories … my spirits are uplifted 🙂 Thanks are due to you for getting this initiative going whereby good news is spread around the world …

  4. What a lovely, heartwarming story about reaching out to help Thomas, a worthy gentleman who was yet another unfortunate victim of gun violence. It reminds me that people can make such a difference by just choosing to reach out and be kind. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Lizbeth – gun violence is a terrible problem in our country too. It’s hard to imagine one’s whole family being wiped out. Had it been me, would have thought it’s the end of the road for me, save for someone reaching out in my despair –

  5. Such a lovely man and a terrific outcome. We’ve lost sight of each other so it’s fabulous when we have a clear vision of what is right. Great story, Susan. 😘

  6. Hi Susan – what an extraordinary story and such a wonderful one to read. There’s so much we can all do. This is just amazing to read … and thanks for sharing with us – I too must get around all the other bloggers to read other brilliant stories. Excellent post – cheers Hilary

    • Lovely to see you here Hilary! Glad you enjoyed this story. The others are lovely too – I love your post of supporting local producers.This is community in action! Cheers to you, Susan

  7. Susan, what an amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. It brings joy to my heart to hear such stories. I wonder how many times we just walk by when a ‘simple hello’ could make a difference to someone’s day or even their life. Not too often, I hope.

  8. Dear Susan, In pure coincidence yesterday afternoon I wrote out a letter to my old boss, thanking him for supporting me through my own homelessness nearly 40 years ago. I was only 18 years old at the time and had just been thrown out of home, which in hindsight, was a blessing as it wasn’t a healthy environment to grow up in. I got myself into all sorts of trouble and he bailed me out by supporting me and paying for my temporary accommodation in a local hostel until I got myself back on my feet.

    At a time when I needed great support he was kind and after I got relocated with a new house move he wrote to me telling me that my life would have meaning and that one day I would be able to look back at that time and remember it differently and that I had a great future before me. He wrote of my personal qualities and how I would be able to move on and if I ever needed, I could always ask him for assistance. His letters during this time kept me positive and hopeful. I have never forgotten his kindness.

    So your inspiring post has really hit home! And today, I wanted to share the difference he made to my life and how inspired I was by his act of kindness. In later years, I re-trained as a psychotherapist and have been practicing now for over 22 years, working with adults and children, hopefully giving back to the community the support and compassion he showed me all those years ago. I know this is forty years late today I will post my letter and let him know I’ve always remembered his kindness and the lasting impression he made in my life. Love and light, Deborah.

    • Dear Deborah, thank you for your lovely and amazing story of this man’s kindness. He is clearly a light unto the world. Is he elderly by now? Maybe not – but whatever his age, I hope he is well and cheerful. Your letter will brighten his day! How wise his words were when you were relocated about looking back and finding meaning in amongst it all –

      I remember people who have been so kind to me in years past some of who are no longer here. They have taught me in immeasurable ways. I say hello to them every now and then in my thoughts and feelings. I suspect they hear!

      Love, light, continual blessings Deborah! Susan

  9. I like how you channel the chain of kindness with these words: “Someone who knew someone” [else]. That’s how kindness spreads. Thanks for broadcasting the good here. What a heartwarming story! Blessings, Susan. 🙂

  10. This is such an inspiring story Susan – thanks for sharing it. It’s both heart-breaking and extremely encouraging that what amounts to so very little help offered can make such a significant difference. I’m not in the least bit demeaning or discrediting the help offered – indeed I celebrate it with great gratitude and appreciation – but what I’m saying is it often takes such little acts of compassion and kindness to shift things exponentially. That we have such a huge issue with homelessness globally speaks volumes about our our collective capacity to care for one another in need, and it truly brightens my heart to hear of such acts of simple kindness.

    • Thanks Deborah – I’m in full agreement, homelessness is such a real and desperate concern. Yet, a moment or two to get the wheels into ACTION can do so much and illustrates the ‘collective capacity to care for one another in need …’

      I look forward to checking out all #WATWB posts in next day or so – am snowed under. Snowed is not the right word, it’s warm and summery here in SA with amazing and sudden rain storms. Much needed in other parts of the country …

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