Instead of spending money on Christmas gifts for each other, they decided to give homeless veteran, Floyd Carter, the ultimate gift — a place to call home.

Floyd Carter spent three long years calling the streets of Washington, D.C. home. After falling on hard times, the veteran spent most of his days in front of the Whole Foods on P St., NW, and his nights wherever he could.

“You’ve got nowhere to go. You’re sneaking on people’s porches, going into abandoned cars, or buildings [just] to lie down,” Carter told ABC7 News.

Despite having a housing voucher — a government-issued voucher that assists very low-income families and people with disabilities in paying for safe and affordable private housing — Carter was unable to secure a roof over his head.

That is until two D.C. lawyers showed up with the ultimate gift.

How Two Strangers Stepped in to Help

lit Christmas tree in a living room

Floyd was on his “last leg, about to give up,” when two “angels in disguise” walked into his life and changed it forever.

While most people would go out of their way to ignore him, Erik and Rachel Cox aren’t like most people.

Instead of walking past him pretending he didn’t exist, they struck up a conversation and spent a few minutes getting to know him and his story.

“He told us he had a housing voucher and waited for months and months, but was unable to get his foot in the door or respect when he tried to get an apartment,” the Coxes said. “We then looked at ourselves and thought, that’s not right, let’s see what we can do.”

The duo got to work.

The problem with the housing voucher is that participants are responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. But unfortunately, when it comes to the homeless, the stigma is real.

It’s difficult to find landlords willing to take people off the streets. Without a fixed address, you don’t have I.D. Without I.D., you can’t get a job. It’s a vicious circle.

To make matters worse, the Coxes discovered that Carter had “become a ghost in a bureaucratic system.” The only way he could get a place was to pony up the money for application fees and a security deposit.

Money he didn’t have. But luckily for him, the Coxes did.

Exchanging Christmas Gifts for Christmas Joy

Rather than spend money on Christmas gifts for each other, the couple decided to play Santa Claus. They used $1300 towards an apartment for Carter.

Just weeks after first meeting him, Erik and Rachel were helping their new friend move into his very own apartment. It was a day Carter never thought would come.

“They seen something in me that nobody else seen.”

Floyd Carter

Not only did they gift him a home, but they gave him something even more invaluable — hope.

“I learned that there are some caring people in this world,” Carter said. “They made this the best Christmas I probably could ever have.”

And to make it even greater, thanks to having an address and I.D., he was well on his way to getting a job. All thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Spirit of Giving

During a season often marked by material exchange, the Coxes exemplified the true spirit of giving — exchanging Christmas gifts for the joy of literally changing someone’s life.

Because of their generosity towards a complete stranger, they were able to take one man off the streets and put him on the road to a successful future.

While not all of us can afford $1300, we can afford to rethink our own reactions when we see people struggling. A kind word, a smile, and an acknowledgment of our fellow human beings can go a long way.

And just imagine the impact we could have if we were willing to give up even one of our Christmas gifts, in exchange for making someone else’s life just a little bit brighter.