25-year-old personal trainer and sales manager, Greg Smith from Orlando has helped a homeless woman named Amy Jo learn how to read. Amy Jo now has a place of her own thanks to Greg.
Greg wrote on Facebook: “I’ve got a number of people working on trying to find her a place where she can stay for the rest of her life,” he added. “Hopefully a place where she can live and work.”
The two unlikely human beings are now friends. Greg would pass Amy Jo each day on his way to work. She wouldn’t beg for money, just send him a friendly greeting. He eventually sat down with her. They chatted, and he learned how she’d been dealt a rough hand.. Their meetings turned in to weekly lunch dates.
Greg shared the story of how he met Amy Jo and how she’s changed his life: “For the last few weeks each Tuesday, Amy Joe and I meet at the corner of Pine Street and S. Orange Ave in downtown Orlando,” Greg wrote on Facebook.
“Each day for about a week I saw Amy Joe at this corner, and she never asked for money… she simply said ‘Good morning Sir, have a great day. God Bless!!’ and smiled. I wear a suit to work every day, so I get asked for a lot of money quite often downtown… but never once from Amy Jo.
“Every Tuesday, Amy Joe and I now have lunch together. For 30 min to an hour I get to hear how positive she is even though she really has nothing.”
“Last week Amy Joe kind of dropped a bomb on me…she cannot read.
“Amy Joe does not smoke, drink, have a drug addiction, or anything to that nature. She simply just has never had anyone teach her how to read. She told me how hard it was for her to find work not being able to read. She began to tell me any money that she can collect she uses to check out library books that help with learning to read instead of buying FOOD.
“This crushed me!!! She would rather learn to read to maybe find a job than eat!!!”
“I have been blessed with two amazing parents and a family that has always had resources to provide me with anything I wanted to do. Amy Joe has not. So now not only do Amy Joe and I sit and have lunch, I’m teaching her to read. I rent one library book a week, and we read it together Tuesday, and she practices on her own throughout the rest of the week.
“This post is in no way to make anyone feel sorry for Amy Joe or brag about me doing something for someone less fortunate. I wanted to share this because maybe this can lead to someone helping another person.”
“There are a lot of people out there like Amy Joe, not all are hungry, homeless, or hurt. Some could be your family or friends. Helping someone could be as easy as saying hello and smiling. I have been fortunate enough in my finances that I can take care of Amy Joe, so that’s what I’m going to do.
One day, Greg told Amy Jo he had a surprise for her: “I said, ‘We’re gonna take a little walk’ since the hotel was three or four blocks away from the restaurant we were at,” he recalled. When she realized where they were headed she gasped and started to cry.
Each day since, Greg has stopped by with donations of clothes, groceries, and money. Amy Jo is excited; Greg says she’s taken three showers.
“She’s excited,” he added. “She said, ‘I’m so happy that we met’ and hugged me and said, ‘I love you.”
Greg continues to check in on Amy Jo. He wants to establish a foundation in her name for other homeless folks.