One cold winter night in London, a young couple named Charlotte and Taylor missed their train. They had to stand on the platform waiting for the next one to arrive. A homeless man in his twenties spotted the couple and offered them a warm spot underneath his blanket.
The three began talking, and they learned that Joey had lost his job. He also went through a breakup, so he was kicked out of his girlfriend’s apartment. He was far from home, so without any money or a place to go, he had to resort to sleeping in the train station. After hearing his story, Charlotte noticed how her body couldn’t help but trembling from the cold, even with a blanket. She couldn’t imagine living there for one night, let alone several months, like Joey had. She asked him to come home with them, because her parents had a guest apartment.
After a while, Joey met the rest of Charlotte and Taylor’s family and friends. He was able to meet someone who hooked him up with a job, so he could get back on his feet. Friendship and support from one’s family to help them when times get tough is something that most people take for granted. For Joey, that act of kindness was all he needed to escape rock bottom.
6. Liz Murray
Liz Murray grew up in the Bronx with her parents, who were addicted to heroin. Her mother was schizophrenic and had contracted AIDS from dirty needles. Murray would have to skip school a lot to take care of her. Her dad ended up leaving the family to live on the streets and in homeless shelters. When she was just 16 years old, Liz’s mom died. Once she no longer needed to take care of her mother, Liz decided to focus on her grades. She was so far behind in her academics that her school allowed her to study and test through the many years of school she never passed.
Academics became her world. After living through homelessness and very nearly failing to graduate, Liz was accepted to Harvard University. Today, she is married to her high school sweetheart. She published a book about her experiences and is raising two children in New York City. She said this about her journey: “If I had a religion, it would be gratitude . . . Look. I grew up broke. We didn’t have food in the fridge. We didn’t have a lot of stuff, but we had each other. And when you have that, you have everything.”