When Chris was homeless, no one cared that he was disabled. But a little kindness at Atlanta Mission changed his life…
With tears in his eyes, Chris remembered the first time he came to Atlanta Mission: “I was waiting in line outside in the heat with all the other guys when a man came out from Atlanta Mission and said ‘wheelchairs in first.’ Since I’d been homeless, no one had ever shown any concern for my disability. No one cared. No one would even hold a door.”
He continued: “It gave me goose bumps that this man really saw me. It convinced me to stay and get help.” Not a moment too soon.
The son of an addict, Chris had unfortunately followed in his father’s footsteps — and paid dearly for it. Drug abuse cost him his wife, his home, and once he was incarcerated, his freedom. In prison, he suffered extreme violence that left him with a significant case of PTSD. That’s also where he lost his leg — a foot ulcer was repeatedly infected, until doctors had no choice but amputation.
So much trauma left Chris in emotional turmoil. Once he was released from prison, he soon found himself suffering on Atlanta’s hot streets.
“Every day was a challenge. A struggle. The heat is brutal. There were times when I thought I would pass out. Trying to get food, water, and power to charge my wheelchair took all my strength. I’d sleep for a few hours at the airport or MARTA, but I was always exhausted,’’ said Chris.
Even still, he added, “the lack of caring is worse.”
All of that stands in stark contrast to his experiences at Atlanta Mission. “I received meals and a bed,” he said. “I always have someone to talk to, and the people here are helping me rebuild my life.”
Today, Chris is doing great! He has his own apartment, and he volunteers at Atlanta Mission nearly every day. “I like to serve the guys here, to make their days a little better. It makes me glad to pass along the same help and hope that I received.”