As Donald Austin lies defeated upon the concrete steps that lead up to his house, things seem futile. What’s more, his wife and mother are finding it impossible to help him up. However, they then notice a stranger circling their house. And what happened next will renew your faith in humanity.
Donald Austin lives in Crestview, Florida, with his wife Jennifer and their children. Unfortunately, life hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for the couple. Nonetheless, as in all good marriages, they’re there for each other to offer support through trying times.
Regrettably, Donald has suffered through plenty of trying times in his life. For example, from January 2017 he spent months in and out of intensive care. And, unfortunately, the various issues that had kept him in hospital came to a head in March.
In fact, Donald ended up having his right leg amputated below the knee. To his family’s surprise, though, the hospital allowed him to return home – just four days after he’d had surgery. Naturally, Jennifer was happy to have her husband back so soon.
But once they returned to their house in Crestview, an unforeseen obstacle presented itself and stopped Donald from entering his home – a set of concrete steps leading up to the front door. What might seem like a simple task for most people was no longer achievable for Donald, who was now confined to a wheelchair.
Donald had hoped that by the time he returned home, he’d have regained the strength necessary to carry himself up the steps using crutches. Unfortunately, however, it transpired that he wasn’t as strong as he’d thought. Even worse, he didn’t have the balance required either.
If he couldn’t make it up the steps by himself, then, he would need help. However, Jennifer alone certainly couldn’t hoist him up them while he was in his wheelchair. For one, she didn’t possess the necessary strength to do so.
Eventually, their efforts to get Donald up that hellish, concrete hindrance ended in ruin for the poor amputee. In fact, he finished up falling down on the harsh ground below. Things weren’t looking at all good for the Austins.
And Jennifer couldn’t move him or even help him off the ground again – even with the assistance of Donald’s mother. However, at that point the family noticed a stranger circling their house in his vehicle, seemingly eyeing up the situation.
At this juncture, the Austins might have been forgiven for thinking the worst. After all, you never know what a stranger’s true intentions might be. Watching this guy circling their house while they languished in despair over Donald’s situation was likely unnerving.
Once he drove back around, however, the stranger pulled near the Austins’ yard. Thankfully, though, he hadn’t stopped to take advantage of the family or make light of their situation. Indeed, he’d pulled over for an altogether more altruistic reason.
Specifically, he was there to offer them a helping hand. Completely of his own volition, the stranger walked over to Donald, picked him up off the cold concrete steps and carried him all the way up into his house. And it’s reasonable to assume that both Donald’s mother and Jennifer were somewhat surprised at what was transpiring.
After the event, then, Jennifer shared the story of her husband’s plight – and rescue – with the “Love What Matters” Facebook page. She wrote, “We were pretty emotional at that time and so grateful for this angel that took the time to help.”
Indeed, it’s clear that the kindness of strangers is a powerful thing. However, the kindness of this particular stranger didn’t end with just carrying Donald into his house. In fact, this was only the beginning of the impact he would have on the Austins’ lives.
The following day, the man – who it later transpired was called Steven Smith – turned up at the Austins’ house again. This time, however, he’d brought his father with him. And his good work wasn’t finished just yet.
Smith asked the Austins if it would be okay for him and his father to build a ramp outside their house, so that Donald could easily enter and exit using his wheelchair. Overjoyed and reduced to tears of gratitude, the Austins naturally agreed to Smith’s generous offer.
Smith and his father set to work constructing an accessibility ramp outside the Austins’ house. No longer would Donald need to struggle with the steps; now he would be able to use his wheelchair until he’d regained the necessary strength and balance to use crutches.
“This stranger saved the day for us twice within 24 hours,” Jennifer wrote on Facebook. “He also brightened our spirits that had become increasingly dimmed over the difficult months. Like a breath of fresh air he is, and there is a sense of optimism back in our home because of his kindness.”
And that message and others like it showed that Jennifer was clearly grateful for Smith’s warmhearted gesture. In another Facebook update she posted a picture of the construction getting underway with the caption, “We just couldn’t believe it. Wow. To be on the receiving end of such kindness is so humbling.”
Happily, Smith and the Austins are now good friends. And that’s perhaps no surprise, as Smith’s actions truly made Donald’s life easier during one of his darkest moments. Their story goes to prove what a huge difference a seemingly small act of kindness can make to someone’s day, week, month – or entire existence.