He Went From Six Figures a Year to Living on the Streets as a Homeless Drifter — Until One Kind Woman Stopped to Help Him
The gift of a safe and stable place to live saved a man’s spirits and quite possibly his life.
No one sets out in life with a plan to end up homeless and on the streets. Finding yourself in that situation is all the more disorienting, saddening, and frightening when your life was, for many years, an objective success.
This happened to a Canadian man named David McDonald. And then, a woman named Kim Cormier and her partner Andrew Embury came into McDonald’s life, changing everything.
A Downward Spiral Ends Alone on the Streets
For many years, David McDonald’s life was the picture of normalcy and comfort. He owned a gas station and enjoyed pay of nearly six figures each year. He had a decade-long relationship with a beloved partner. He had a trusty Dodge Durango. He lived close to his teenaged daughter. And he had a home.
It all started to go south when gas prices shot up and business dried up. In 2010, McDonald was forced to give up his business. Soon, with no meaningful income, he lost his home. Then his partner left him. Then he had to give up the truck.
McDonald relocated about three hours west from his home of Kingston to Toronto in order to stay close to his daughter who had recently made the move. Unfortunately, she soon moved again, leaving him alone and with no work and no stable housing.
McDonald took a bus all the way to Vancouver, some 2,700 miles west, looking for a new start, but instead he found himself experiencing homelessness for the first time.
About a year later, McDonald made his way back to Toronto via bicycle, hitching, and foot. There and in Kingston, he would spend years without stable housing. At times, McDonald shared a small apartment with strangers, often facing threats of violence over the fact that he is gay. At times he was on the streets.
And at nearly all times, McDonald was miserable. Once a happy, successful, and cared for man, he now found himself depressed, destitute, and alone in the world.
But what should have been just one more kick while down turned out to be the spark that changed it all.
The Definition of a Happy Accident
One day in 2021, David McDonald was riding his scooter along a Kingston, Ontario, street when a tire blew out. The e-scooter being his primary means of transportation, McDonald needed to repair the tire even though it would be an expense.
Fearing his possessions would be stolen, McDonald asked a woman if she would watch his things while he went and bought the replacement part.
That woman was Kim Cormier, and she readily agreed. But merely helping by watching this stranger’s possessions was truly the littlest Cormier could do.
When McDonald came back with the inner tube, Cormier and her partner, Andrew Embury, invited him in to have dinner with them. An instant affinity developed among the three, and that new friendship would mean the end of McDonald’s time living in homelessness.
A New Home for a New Friend
Cormier invited the then 46-year-old to set up camp in her backyard. And thanks to some donated items, this “camp” was the picture of comfort.
McDonald moved into a spacious tent complete with a queen-sized mattress, a couch, and even a refrigerator. When he needed to use the restroom or do laundry, he was welcome in Cormier’s home. And, amazingly, Cormier never saw her hospitality as charity — in fact, she and Embury so enjoyed McDonald’s company that in many ways they felt he was the one doing them a kindness.
As cold weather loomed, a larger community came together to do an even bigger act of good, per Global News, donating enough money for an 80-square-foot micro home that was complete with insulation and weather sealing and that would be set up in Cormier’s yard to give McDonald a safe, comfortable place to spend the winter.
And that little home would be McDonald’s to keep for good and set up where he pleased, whether it remained in Cormier’s yard or if David McDonald chose to take his home with him anywhere else in the world.
We can change each other’s lives. And our own in the process.