In Woburn, Massachusetts, John Kinney, an electrician, was fixing a damaged light fixture in Gloria Scott’s residence when he noticed that her home was very dilapidated.
There was extensive plumbing damage, there were holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in, there was no running water in most of the home and the kitchen sink was broken and leaking. John felt for the 72 year old, saying “It was definitely a hazard. It was a rough condition she was living in and I noticed immediately.”
After completing the job, Kinney went home — but he kept thinking about Scott, and how she disclosed that she lived alone and couldn’t afford repairs. “I knew she needed help and I knew she wasn’t going to ask for it,” John said.
So Kinney took it upon himself to help. He started off by working on her home, for free. Offering his time an expertise to try and make her home better. But there was more to be done than he could handle alone, so he recruited some volunteers to help him out. But his friends weren’t enough either, the house really was in bad shape. She had been shutting off her own water and turning it on only every few days to flush the toilets.
John eventually turned to Facebook, and started a fundraiser called “Nice old lady needs help” , and he described the situation for people; saying he wasn’t looking to rebuild her house, just make it safe and livable. Within hours he had over $3,500 in donations. Today, more than month later, it’s almost $150,000.
According to Kinney it just kept growing and growing, eventually other professionals and volunteers stepped in, and they’ve been dubbed “Gloria’s Gladiators.“, because they are fighting her house battles for her. These Gladiators have become so numerous they required a Facebook group to manage them all, and that public group now has over 14 thousand members. Local restaurants have even stepped up and been sending donated meals to the cause.
So far the Gladiators have managed to install a new electrical system, plumbing system, roof, windows, insulation, given her home a new paint job, back porch, and even installed new grass in her backyard. They very nearly have rebuilt her house, but they still had a few weeks of work left to do.
While this all has been going on, the electrician said Scott has enjoyed watching the process and getting to know the volunteers.
“She’s been here by herself for over 10 years, so I’m sure it’s a big change for her, but she’s warmed up to everybody,” he explained. “She’s so happy, she’s got all types of new friends. She’s out here making lunch for us, laughing, joking. It’s just a miracle to witness.”
He also noted how he and his family have developed a special bond with her that he expects to maintain, even after their renovations are complete. “She reminds me of my grandmother,” Kinney told the outlet. “My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
It’s really remarkable what happened in this case, and you can find out more about it in your Good News Story of the Day here.
Kinney’s relationship with Scott isn’t the only thing that he hopes to maintain down the line. The electrician said he also wants to keep Gloria’s Gladiators alive by offering services to other elderly people in the community and hopefully, around the country. “It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves,” Kinney said.
Story and Image from People.