Victor Hubbard had been standing on the same street corner waiting for his mother to return for the last three years – that is, until Ginger Jones Sprouse finally decided to step in and lend a hand.
Victor, who is a mentally ill 38-year-old homeless man, was dropped off at the corner by his mother and told to wait for her to return. Three years later, he was still waiting for his mother to return.
“He stands and looks, taps the pole, squints, dances, waves and sometimes just stares,” wrote Ginger in December. “He is a sweet, gentle man that happens to be mentally ill. If you have ever heard the term ‘falling through the cracks’ he is the definition.”
Ginger drove by Victor’s street corner in Clear Lake, Texas four different times a day on her way to work at the Art of the Meal. As winter approached, Ginger started to worry about how Victor would handle the cold. Whenever her lunch break would roll around, she would visit her homeless neighbor and chat about their lives.
The two eventually struck up a friendship and Ginger invited her new acquaintance to stay at her place whenever the weather got too bad. As a way of drawing awareness to his situation, she created a Facebook page titled “This is Victor”.
“I drive by Victor’s corner at least 4 times a day. I listen to people talking around town and keep hearing ‘someone needs to do something about that guy’.” Ginger wrote on the crowdfunding page. “So, I will be the organizer and I hope that we as a community can be ‘someone’ together.”
Since they became close, Ms. Sprouse has brought Victor into several mental health clinics, doctors appointments, gotten him a job at her restaurant, and helped him off the street. A GoFundMe page for Victor’s living costs has raised $17,500 in just two months.
The Facebook page has given regular updates on Victor’s life – and he has reportedly been doing fabulously.
“Tonight Victor laughed. I mean really laughed. The kind where you fall back on the couch kind of laugh. Where you have tears streaming down your face and you can’t catch your breath. It wasn’t really even that funny. But as he laughed I could almost see the tension leave his body, the years of stress and worry and the anxiety that was clinging to him slowly melting away,” wrote Ginger.
“I wondered when was the last time he laughed that way? And how sad and lost he was on the corner. And how all of our hearts hurt to see him that way. And how thankful we can be that now he’s not just smiling, but laughing. A deep belly laugh, the kind that comes from a joyful heart. And now we can smile too.”