LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- It’s not every day you get to change someone’s life.
However, for Jodi and his wife, Dawn Gieber, they did the unthinkable.
“People would say James was very angry. James was a mean person. He wasn’t. James was just hungry,” says Dawn. “He was cold. He was eating out of dumpsters. James just had no resources and my husband and I just felt that there was something we needed to do to help him.”
James, a homeless man, had been living on the streets of downtown Little Rock for the past 15 years.
“I would see him as I went into the courthouse,” explains Dawn. “My husband would also see him as he patrolled.”
Dawn, a records specialist at the Pulaski County Circuit Court, decided to ask James a question no one had ever asked.
“One day I just asked him, ‘Why are you homeless?” explains Dawn. “I treated him like a human – we all have a story.”
James revealed he had lost his way and lost contact with this family. He had tried finding them, but didn’t know how.
“I talked to my husband and told him we had to do something,” says Dawn. “James didn’t have the resources. We did Google searches and finally, my husband found some numbers.”
After countless calls, emails and voice messages, they finally got the response they were waiting for.
“It was right before Thanksgiving and we get a call back from his niece,” says Dawn. “They had been looking for him and thought he was dead.”
They arranged for James to talk to his family and saw how emotional he was when hearing his family members’ voices.
“I turned to my husband and said ‘Road trip,” explains D. Gieber. “We didn’t even think twice. My husband went to get him clothes and brought him back to the house.”
However, the Giebers’ encountered a roadblock when they realized James had outstanding warrants in Little Rock.
“We knew we had to be careful because of the jobs we both hold,” explains Dawn. “But I went before the judge and told him James’ situation and that we were willing to pay all his fees and the judge dismissed all charges.”
So the couple, along with James, packed up their car and drove nearly 600 miles to Illinois.
“Seeing James reunite with his family was so rewarding,” says Dawn. “It was just the right thing to do – he’s a person and that matters.”
James is now living with his family in Illinois and is doing well, according to his brother.