Hi folks. I was going through some of my older articles this morning and came across this one. It reminded me of how we get caught up in our own struggles sometimes and forget that others have it much worse.
Originally written in April 2008
This post is not about real estate. BUT.....it's something I have to write. It will also not be politically correct so you have been warned.
TLW's last post mentioned one of our tenants that was shot and killed by the police department this past Thursday. This post will delve into this incident a little deeper.
We met this young man and his pregnant fiancée on Thanksgiving day 2007. Our Church sponsored a community dinner for anyone in the community who didn't have a place to go. When TLW and I arrived to help there wasn't much for us to do so we hopped in our car and went riding through the "hood" looking for folks who may want to come for a free Thanksgiving dinner. We had a few folks take us up on it including our future tenant and his fiancée. Let's name them..... Struggle and Hope.
Anyway, they were a beautiful young couple very much in love. They were very polite and very thankful that we found them. It seems they had been ostracized by their families and had no one and no place to go for Thanksgiving. Our invitation was accepted with open arms and they were welcomed, with open arms, at our dinner. It was a great day and we liked them.
As fate would have it, I received a call about a month later for one of our rentals. I recognized Struggle's voice right away and met with him and Hope about renting our house. They were currently crammed into an efficiency apartment that they were renting by the week.
Struggle was waiting tables at one of the local restaurants and was trying hard to find a place, they could call home, before the baby was born in May. We talked and we agreed to rent them our property at a little lower rent and we waived some of the move in costs to help them out. They were ecstatic. Hope was crying with joy and Struggle was smiling ear to ear.
It took him a few weeks of working extra shifts at the restaurant to be able to come up with the money to move in but he did. They moved in the second week of February. It was a very happy day.
All was going well. Just a sweet young couple in love and Hope's two year old son. I'll call him Spiderman since he LOVES Spiderman and is always wearing his little Spiderman outfit, while running around the house. He is a bundle of joy.
They had hope. And we were happy for them. It seemed like God had brought us all together. They needed a helping hand and TLW and I wanted to help.
On March 11th at 11:30 pm Struggle was shot and killed by the local police. We don't know the details. All we know is that there was an altercation in the Winn Dixie parking lot and he was shot by a 22 year old policeman and died.
TLW and I heard about the incident on the local news in the morning but had no idea it was Struggle. We found out when a reporter called me for an interview later that day. We were shocked to say the least.
A couple of hours later Hope called us. She was devastated, confused, mad and heart broken. We were too. She had been up all night trying to find Struggle. She had called all the hospitals and the police department but nobody knew, or were willing to say, anything. She thought maybe he had been in a car accident, she had just spoken to him at 11:00 pm on Thursday, 30 minutes before the incident. He called to see if she wanted him to bring home something to eat from McDonalds. That was the last she ever spoke to him.
Folks, we don't know why this happened. We don't know if Struggle was up to no good or not. We do know Struggle is dead and the police officers have been suspended, with pay, while this is investigated.
We also know, Hope, is now alone. We know she will be having their child in about 3 weeks.
I saw Hope yesterday. My Church had given me some money to take over to her, so I did. This young lady broke my heart. All I wanted to do was hold her and make the pain go away. I held her....but the pain stayed. The worst part was when Spiderman kept asking for "TaTa". She had to explain, to a two year old, that "TaTa" was hurt bad and would not be coming home.
I can't even imagine the pain this young lady is going through.
This entire situation got me thinking. What if I had been a young black man growing up in a rough neighborhood? What if when I was 16 and got caught for pulling up stop signs, as a prank, I had been sent to prison, instead of just being reprimanded, because I was white and the son of a Pastor? Would I have grown up scared of "the man", knowing that if I got caught for doing anything, I would be sent to jail?
So many unanswered questions. So much pain. Life is a Struggle but there's always Hope. Please pray for Hope.
***By the way, Hope lived in our rental house for about another year after I posted this article. We let her stay free for several months and then she got a job and did her best to pay the rent. She had a beautiful baby girl a few months after all of this went down. She currently has a decent job and her own apartment.
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