Reader Says Good Samaritan In Omaha Is Putting Herself in Danger Trying To Help Homeless Woman

(12-3-18) On my blog last Monday, a Good Samaritan described the barriers that she and her husband have encountered when attempting to find shelter for a homeless elderly woman in Omaha. Most of the comments on Facebook and those sent to me lauded her determined efforts. But the writer of this note felt otherwise.

Dear Mr. Earley,

I find it shocking that this couple in Omaha are getting involved so heavily with Geraldine. (The elderly homeless woman described in last week’s blog.)  They are putting themselves in grave danger without understanding the risks involved.

I made the mistake of befriending a polite young man of 18 who came from a broken home – abandoned by his mother at 6, raised by grandmother, but lived in a trashed out house with an alcoholic father who did not parent him.

I thought his issues were primarily caused by poverty.  My wife and I treated him like he was a grandson, since we have no grandchildren.  I helped him write a resume and get a real job.  He ate at our table, and I took him on several vacation trips.

Bad idea.

There were all sorts of “red flags” which we ignored.  Then, just before he turned 21, his grandmother died of a heart attack.

He went nuts, blaming God, blaming me, etc. for her death….

Reluctantly, we severed our ties with him, but several months later, he burglarized our house several times when we were away, doing minor vandalism.

When I went to court to get a no-contact order, he showed up at 2:45am and fired a rifle bullet into my home while we were sleeping.  He fled to another State to escape prosecution.

Where he is now, I have no idea.  At least he is gone.  But we have an elaborate alarm system and cameras in case he ever comes back.

How does that adage go?  “No good deed goes unpunished.”  We learned a valuable lesson the hard way.  Don’t mess with strangers.

Clearly there is a problem with folks like Geraldine and our young man.  But there apparently are no good solutions.  DIY charity is not the answer.  Changing the system is problematical too.

Catch 22.  Ugh.

(I have verified the writer’s identity but am not posting the name. – Pete Earley)

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.