That first police officer kickstarted a positive chain of events that helped the family get back on their feet.

Arrested and homeless

Ebony Rhodes and her four children were down on their luck.

Rhodes’ mother just died and they’d moved to Atlanta but didn’t have a place to stay—at one point they even had to sleep in their car. Then, she got arrested for having a suspended license and no insurance.

“It just brought tears to my eyes,” Rhodes told Fox5. “I knew what the possibilities were.”

But an Atlanta Police Department officer who was also a single mother wanted to help Rhodes and her family. The cop found a shelter for them to stay for a few months as Rhodes took on jobs to move into a small apartment.

Local police helped out

With mounting hospital bills due to illnesses in the family—her youngest daughter has Lupus and is partially blind in one eye, her middle son suffered serious burns in a tragic accident playing near a campfire, and she herself requires chemotherapy—the family found themselves homeless again. To make matters worse, Rhodes’ car was totaled and she had to pay $40 per day in ride shares to get to two jobs.

“When bad things happen, I try not to dwell on it,” Rhodes told FOX 5. “I’m just like okay, this is meant to happen for me to get where I want to be.”

After hearing about Rhodes’ situation, Atlanta PD Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier decided to lend a hand.

He started a GoFundMe for the family to help them pay their bills.

“Maya Angelou said…’We are more alike, my friends, than we are unlike,'” Glazier wrote on the GoFundMe. “I truly believe that and hope your generosity makes life easier for a struggling family.”

The police department also created a YouTube video.

An outpouring of support

Incredibly, more than $70,000 in donations came rolling in from more than 1,200 donors.

As a result, the family was able to move into a house and got caught up on their bills.

“Everything that is given to us, we look (at it) as a blessing and we appreciate it more than anybody would ever know.”

Ebony Rhodes

Even as her family continues to struggle to pay bills, Rhodes said she’s paying it forward by donating to people who live on the streets and babysitting for other single mothers on her off days.

The kindness of strangers

It’s hard to imagine what Rhodes must have felt like when she got arrested while homeless. Frustration. Desperation. Probably both of those feelings and more.

But out of the blue, she got a helping hand from an unlikely source—police officers she didn’t know. Then, she got more help from others she didn’t know amounting to $70,000.

This unbelievable act of kindness goes to show how kind strangers really can be, and that even when things seem hopeless there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

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Lead with empathy
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can make a world of difference.