On November 19th, 2019, while driving home going down Roswell Rd, I saw a pregnant homeless African-American teen on the side of the street crying. God called me to help Jami Curtis. I listened and obeyed. You can be kind to others. Here are my ten tips on how to be kind.
My “how to be kind to others” tips come directly from my experience of learning and practicing how to be a kind person. Kindness is a skill, like speaking a foreign language or ice skating. Developing the skill of kindness evelop is a journey, not an event. Kindness takes practice.
Read this on LinkedIn: How To Be Kind by Anna Szabo
On November 19th, last week on Tuesday, I was driving home coming down Roswell Rd., when I noticed big purple hair and tears running the woman’s face.
It was an African-American pregnant teen sitting on the side of road weeping. She was homeless.
God’s voice was calling me to help the woman. However, due to the traffic, I had to keep driving. As soon as I could, I turned around.
Going back up Roswell Rd., I parked my Camry at North River Tavern and walked toward the lady with purple hair.
Pregnant and Homeless
I walked up to her. She was used to people passing by so she didn’t notice me at first and didn’t pay attention.
I am 5’10”, and she was on the ground weeping.
I stopped and asked what happened.
She looked up and, with tears running down her face, she said: “I’m just so overwhelmed, I’m pregnant, homeless, and I have nowhere to go.”
She said her name was Jami Curtis.
Jami shared that for the last four months she’s been sleeping on the streets on concrete and that she experienced domestic violence. Her story reminded me of my own story of domestic violence and homelessness.
Jami Curtis said she was 19 years old, 28 weeks pregnant, homeless, and hopeless. She told me that she was at the end of her strength contemplating suicide. I could relate… because I attempted suicide twice.
RELATED: My Suicide Story
Jami was genuinely weeping while we talked, and my heart was broken for her. I knew that God uniquely equipped and prepared me to help this homeless pregnant teenage girl. I myself had experienced teen pregnancy, so I knew how hard it was to be in her situation. I wanted to help Jami.
I had to think fast. It was below 50F outside, and Jami also had some pregnancy complications. I wanted her to have a chance at life.
While calling some shelters, I walked to North River Tavern, asked for the manager, Jason, and requested a lunch donation for Jami. Jason The Manager disappeared for a moment and reappeared with a hot fresh lunch.
He gave it to Jami for free, and his kindness touched my heart.
If you ever wonder how to be more kind, be like Jason: take one simple kind action at a time. I told Jason I needed to call the police using his address.
While inside the Tavern, I called 911 so we together could brainstorm how to help Jami. While waiting for the police, I fed Jami and called everyone I could at my church but no one answered on a Tuesday afternoon.
My mentor John texted me a number to contact but it took me straight to voicemail, so I called other organizations for any help.
The local shelters I contacted declared that there were no beds available. Soon, I realized that helping Jami would take a lot of work and time: the shelters were occupied, so I’d need to find some individuals who know someone who can help with Jami’s housing situation.
Two police officers arrived: a man and a woman. They said there was nothing they could do, except give Jami a courtesy ride to a MARTA station.
That was very kind, only Jami Curtis had nowhere to go…
We discovered that Jami received no prenatal care for months, so we called the ambulance. I thought: while she’s in the hospital for a few hours, I’ll find her a home.
Jami and I exchanged numbers. I held her hands and prayed to Jesus to help Jami’s situation and we both thanked Jesus for the miracle that was already happening. Jami mentioned that as she was sitting there contemplating suicide, she received a message that blessings were coming in abundance.
Jesus is truly the God of miracles.
RELATED: Who Is Jesus?
Surrounded by the police officers and ambulance, I asked for Jami’s permission to take a picture with her and post it on my social media to ask for help. She gave her permission, and the police officer took a picture of us.
Jami was safely taken to the hospital.
I walked back to the Tavern, thanked Jason for his kindness, and drove home with a heart open to God’s works, trusting that this was a story of His glory and He’d work all things together for good.
Finding a Home for Jami Curtis
As soon as I arrived home, I posted on Facebook about Jami Curtis needing a shelter bed. Additionally, I called 60+ shelters. No lack: they all rejected me saying no beds available.
I do not recall an afternoon in the last ten years when I had to call so many people while texting, Facebooking, and documenting everything – all at the same time.
Within two hours, 15 people reshared my posts across various social media platforms, and I was getting phone calls and messages from the people I didn’t even know but who were genuinely trying to help Jami.
Three hours after I posted on Facebook, I received a phone call from a woman named Mary Catherine who said we didn’t know each other but her friend saw my post on Facebook and shared it with her.
She told me that she secured a bed for Jami Curtis at Solomon’s Temple where she served as the Board member.
I found Jami a home three hours after meeting her. Glory to God!
I saved Mary Catherine’s phone number in my contacts as “Angel from God.” To me, this was a miracle because everywhere I called, I was told one of two things: either “no beds available” or “she must come in person, fill out the intake form, and wait for a few weeks or months.”
Now, Jami had a home. Praise the Lord!
She was in the hospital, so I called, she told me about her health complications and high blood pressure, that her pregnancy was at risk, and she would need to be monitored daily.
I told her that she now had a home.
She was excited.
Many people shared my Facebook post about Jami with their friends in just three hours, and Mary Catherine was the only person who went 100 extra-miles to secure the shelter bed for Jami and her baby for six months.
It was miraculous. Her kindness touched my heart.
Mary Catherine was an angel from God, and I knew it with confidence. For the next few hours, we called and texted. She was a passionate woman genuinely wanting to help a homeless pregnant teen. I praised Jesus for her.
Mary Catherine agreed to visit Jami at Wellstar North Fulton, take her a homemade dinner, and pay for her Uber to the shelter. She was so kind.
Jami was visited at the hospital, fed, cared for, and $55 was paid to Uber her to her new “home” in the Solomon’s Temple at East Point.
A little baby girl was announced to be born on February 10th, 2020 – Aulani Cember York.
Raising Money for Jami
Mary Catherine and I talked till 4 am, Jami was just settling in her new home at the time, and I couldn’t go to bed without making sure she was ok.
On Wednesday, I drove to the shelter, about 90 minutes away from my home. I met with Jami there. She had holes in her boots and no underwear.
Together, Mary Catherine and I got $208, and I took Jami to WalMart at East Point to buy her what she needed to feel like a human again. I knew from personal experience how homelessness impacts dignity and identity. That’s why I was eager to help her.
Before we went shopping, I met with Jami’s social worker Angela who explained their operational model stating that Jami would have to be out of the building every day by 8:30 am and will have to remain out till 2:30 pm.
That meant Jami needed weather-appropriate clothes asap and she had to have some cash to eat outside the shelter. Hmm… I had to buy Jami everything she needed and figure out how to have the cash to give her.
Creative negotiation was required.
At WalMart, while Jami was waiting for her medicine, I spoke with the manager, Lilian, and negotiated the gift of coat, panties, two bras, socks, and a professional white shirt for Jami.
Lilian The Manager was also almost seven months pregnant like Jami, and she showed kindness by giving her some gifts. If you’re ever wondering about some ways to be kind, be like Lilian: give the small gifts to make a big impact on someone in a very difficult situation.
I bought Jami the rest of her essentials: boots, job interview appropriate outfits, a belt, hair tools and products, jeans, warm gloves, scarf, and hat, an umbrella, hygiene products, sleepwear, towels, and the like.
I gave her $20 cash, took her back to the shelter, and helped her take her shopping bags up to her room. It was a nice place where she stayed by herself, had a table, and a chest of drawers.
When Jami and I were walking back to my car from WalMart, a homeless man stopped me asking to buy him dinner, which I did at Subway for $12. The trip to East Point revealed to me how much need there is all around us, all we need is to want to be more kind and be willing to help those who are struggling.
There’s only one way to learn how to be kind: through practice.
I took Jami shopping at 4:20 pm, and when we got back, it was 7 pm. I was tired but very grateful that God used me to help in His kingdom.
That day, Jami applied for a job at WalMart and told me she needed her hair done. I started working on it as soon as I got back home but soon found out the getting black hair done was very expensive. I asked for help on social media. One person agreed to help for free but then she canceled.
The next day, on Thursday, my friend Mildred sent $50 for Jami. My mentor from Perimeter Church, Lee, also sent me $50 to help Jamie.
My friend Lori reached out and said she wanted to buy Jamie some essentials, visit her, and give her cash for food outside the shelter. She invested $68 and as she was on her way to Jami, unfortunately, due to the pregnancy complications, Jami was taken to the hospital again, twice in two days. Lori went to Grady to help Jami and then, drove her back to the shelter.
Lori, Mary Catherine, and I talked multiple times to Jami on conference calls, and each of us called her individually as well throughout the day. We wanted her to know she was blessed by God and cared for with kindness.
We stayed very late on Thursday to make sure Jami got help at the hospital and was home safely.
On Friday, another $250 was raised for Jami’s needs from my friends. Lori’s friends donated $110 as well.
I was working to get Jami’s hair situated since she had a job interview coming up on Tuesday with Lilian, the manager at WalMart.
On Saturday, I googled black hair services at East Point and found Kim Summerlin. I called her and explained the situation. She said I can bring Jami in at 4:30 pm that same day, and she’ll do her hair for free. I started crying, impacted by Kim’s genuine kindness.
If you ever wonder how to be a kind person, be like Kim: help a total stranger.
Before I say anything else, I want you to know that the kindness of all the people who helped me help Jami is what I’m forever grateful for, and I even included my gratitude in this year’s Thanksgiving Journal.
RELATED: Thanksgiving Journal 2019
While I was on my way to pick Jami up from the shelter and take her to Kim, WSB TV called me and asked to do a story about this journey with Jami.
We all met at Kim’s salon, and each of us shared that there’s hope for those in need as long as we all learn how to be kind in our everyday lives.
Jami got a total makeover: Kim did her hair and Anthony from WSB TV bought her a premium nail spa service from WalMart, as well as gave her $20 cash.
Jami said she felt like a Princess, as if finally there was a crown on her head. It was a blessing to see such joy. If you ever wonder how to be kind to others, be like Anthony and pour love on someone in need to lift them up.
I was grateful for every single person who helped.
That same day, at 11 pm, WSB TV ran the story, and Jami received another $220 in donations.
What I’ve learned from this experience is that every little person (like me) is capable of making a big impact (like saving Jami from suicide and homelessness) if we just learn how to be kind to one another.
Lori was with us when filming the story, and after the interviews, she took both Jami and me out to dinner where we counted blessings and praised God for His amazing grace. If you ever wonder how to be kind, be like Lori: pray that God will use you for His glory.
Lori shared that she prayed to God to use her.
So did I.
How To Be Kind: 10 Tips
Here are my ten tips for how to be kind.
- Pray to God to use you for His glory
- Keep your heart open to the pain of other humans
- Pay attention to those who are in need
- Accept the burdens of others to bear as your own
- Use social media to ask for help, recruit a “village”
- Be willing to go an extra mile for your fellow human
- Pray that God opens the doors of which you don’t even know yet
- Be grateful when God calls you to help His kingdom
- Listen and respond promptly when called by God
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart in difficult situations
If you follow my ten tips for how to be kind, you’ll notice the opportunities to help people, you’ll be stirred up on the inside, you’ll recognize God’s voice calling your name, and you’ll respond to His calling with all your might.
God will open the doors for you to uplift people in supernatural ways. All you need is to listen, respond, and take action trusting in Him.
Today, I shared with you why I helped a stranger on the street (God called upon me to be kind), how I went about finding a homeless pregnant teen a home (using social media to ask for help), and what was the result (Jami Curtis has a home, all essentials, and even money now, only a week later). Her health is under control, her pregnancy is going well, and a little baby girl will be here in just a few weeks. Thanks to God’s perfect plan.
He called me to help through kindness. If I can do it, so can you.
You can be kind. Your kindness matters. You can make a difference by being kind to others. You can also be transformed if you practice kindness.
If you’re inspired to do good, share in the comments below how you’ll go about it. Also, ask me anything. I believe that YOU can change the world if you learn how to be kind.
I will be talking about this story in my TEDx talk 2020.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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