Stranger changes local homeless veteran's life - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Stranger changes local homeless veteran's life

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

A veteran living on the streets for the past two years recently had his life turned around thanks to the helping hands of a stranger.

Ed Ryder, 73, called a tent at the intersection of River Road and Bender Road home for the past two years.

A dance fitness instructor based out of Erlanger, Gabrielle Williams, 27, did a little something last week that meant everything to the homeless man.

“There was something about him that made me just connect immediately,” Williams told FOX 19 on Monday. “It’s funny because I said I’ve never loved a stranger more.”

This stranger, Ryder, would soon become her friend. “We were just really struck by his personality and his story," she said. 

Williams said that sometimes it takes someone else’s story to remind us of the times when we’ve been down on our luck and when we’ve persevered because of another person paying it forward to us.

“I have been through hard times in my life and if it wasn’t for awesome people, I would’ve been homeless,” Williams explained.

This time, it was her turn to help out. “We took him to Becca's house to get a change of clothes and let him take a shower. Then, we took him to a barbershop and the hair dresser asked what the special occasion was.

Becca chimed in and said, “Here's to new beginnings.” A new haircut, new clothes and a new start for the man who Williams now refers to as an old friend.

“When the haircut was done, we go to see his entire face light up. I don't think I'll ever forget that moment,” Williams said.

Because, as Williams put it, sometimes the simpliest acts and the smallest gestures are those that mean the most to those who have the least.

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