In the busy, frenetic and harried holiday season, it’s easy to forget that there are others who really are without a home, job, or any family to help them. An 89-year-old woman named Angie Tyma, was in a desperate situation last month, when she suddenly found herself evicted from her home of 35 years, leaving her homeless and helpless.
It’s easy to think that there must have been a government agency, an aid worker, or some charity organization that could assist her in getting back on her feet. But, sometimes, in those darkest and most-impossible moments, a unexpected miracle happens. One of her neighbors, Danielle Calder, reached out, purchased her house and offered her the chance to move back in — just in time for her 89th birthday. It’s not something you would typically expect from a neighbor. But, Calder explained: “I needed her. I couldn’t see her living in a motel room… she’s been here so long. Everyone looks out for her.”
The Rest of the Story
The story is actually very simple. Tyma’s been a widow for some 20 years, and she sold her house several years ago to a “friend” who lives in Europe. When he experienced some financial difficulties, he stopped paying the mortgage. The bank repossessed the house and sold it at auction. Then, the new owners showed up and promptly booted Tyma out on the street (with all her possessions), without warning.
Even then, the kindness of her neighbors was evident. They offered to store some of her things, and also moved larger items to a storage unit. Still, she found herself living in a Days Inn (due to the kindness of one neighbor who worked at the hotel and was able to arrange for her to stay there), just up the road from her former home.
Then, Calder stepped in, arranged to buy the house for $167,500, and offered to play the role as landlord going forward. Tyma immediately accepted the arrangement, and was then completely taken aback (“speechless”) and overwhelmed by all the hubbub that her story subsequently caused — it was front-page news. Who would have thought that a story about an elderly woman in need of assistance would inspire such a huge outpouring? It’s gone viral.
There Is a Santa Claus
It’s sentimental and corny, of course, to imagine that such an act of neighborly kindness had anything to do with holiday spirit or Santa Claus. After all, you’re an adult. You’ve seen it all: the good and bad. Tyma might have just as easily ended up on the street, and then the story might have had an entirely different sort of ending. Sometimes, though, there must be days of hope, when we believe in the innate power of hope and care.
Calder described Tyma as “the fabric of the neighborhood.” Even as an older woman, she’s “feisty” with “lots of energy.” As if to illustrate the point, Tyma quipped, “I still do the twist. I still keep up with all of you.”
For her part, though, Calder also explains, “It was the right thing to do… We’re family — the whole neighborhood.”
These acts of kindness are even being called out with the hashtag: #ShareKindness.