Everyday in the news there are terrible and tragic stories. This story could’ve had that ending. Thanks to one good samaritan and many who followed in his footsteps, this story brings a positive lesson in the kindness of humanity that is surely to leave you with a smile on your face and little bit of hope for our world.
The hero of this story is Josh Cyganik, a 35-year-old track inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad. Every morning for the past four years, Cyganik has smiled to his neighbour Leonard Bullock. Bullock is 75-years-old and spends his days sitting on the porch outside his Pendleton, Oregon, home. The pair have never exchanged words, only a kind smile.
Cyganik was at the curb to fill his garbage can when he overheard two teenage boys. As the boys walked passed Bullock’s home, they shouted, “Look at this crappy house. They just need to burn it down!”.
Cyganik was in shock at the comments. As he turned towards Bullock’s home, he saw the man with his head down in shame. Cyganik told CBS News, “I couldn’t believe what those kids had said. It was Leonard, this elderly, old man, who never hurt anybody a day in his life — sits there all day long.”
After letting the comments settle in his mind, Cyganik decided to do something. He reached out to a friend who runs a hardware store and asked if he would be willing to donate supplies to fix up the house. His friend immediately agreed.
Cyganik took the next step, acquiring volunteers to aid in the project. He took to Facebook to share the story and his call for help. To his surprise, over 6000 people had shared his post, with dozens more commenting.
Cyganik approached Bullock and asked him if he would like his house to be repainted. Cyganik said Bullock was “just flabbergasted. He was excited and he said he would love that!”.
So Cyganik rallied up his crew of five coworkers and went to work, painting and fixing up the outside of Bullock’s home. Minute by minute people joined them. Cyganik stopped counting the number of volunteers when he reached 95 people.
After nine hours, the job was complete, and the outcome was beautiful. Not just the exterior of the home, but the lesson and growth for society. Bullock sits proudly outside of his freshly made-over home. Cyganik and Bullock are no longer “strangers”, but friends.
Today, think of something you can do to help those around you.