(NEW YORK) — A homeless man is seeing brighter days after a stranger came to his rescue following a frightening health scare.
Dana Lee Calabrese, of Los Angeles, told ABC News that she first encountered Douglas Hall, who said he’s a veteran who lost his leg during combat, when he collapsed in the middle of a busy street. While others called paramedics, she protected and later returned his belongings to him.
Now, the Good Samaritan is gifting Hall with trip back to New York to be with his loved ones.
“He knows that I am getting him to New York because I told him that I would make that happen,” Calabrese said. “At that point, he was crying and telling me I was an angel. He also at one point screamed out ‘God is Good'”
She added: “I believe we became immediate friends, and hopefully we will be friends for life. I think I will always wonder and worry about him now.”
Calabrese was on her way to dinner on April 30 when she witnessed Hall’s fall on Highland Ave. in Hollywood. Concerned for his safety, Calabrese and two onlookers called 911, she said.
“When I asked the first responders if they would be taking his belongings one of them replied, ‘No, are you? A million more dominoes fall a day around here,'” Calabrese recalled. “I couldn’t stomach that response. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that they have a very hard job to do and perhaps you get desensitized after working in such a large city with such an immense homeless population, but I just couldn’t bare this person losing what I believed to be all he had in the world. So I thought, ‘Yeah, I will take his cart.’ and then strolled it all the way home.”
The day Hall collapsed, Calabrese took to Facebook asking her social media friends to help find him so she could return the shopping cart containing his belongings.
Calabrese’s neighbor found Hall on the street and he and Calabrese met on June 9. The pair even made plans to have dinner, she said.
“From our brief encounters thus far he seems like a really great guy,” Calabrese said. “He looks like he has been through a lot in life and somehow maintains this really positive vibe about him. I am really looking forward to learning more about him.”
Attached to his cart, Hall had a handwritten sign stating he was trying to get to New York. “I’m not asking for a handout, just a hand up,” he wrote. “Anything would help.”
In an effort to grant his wish, Calabrese launched a GoFundMe Page titled “Help Veteran Douglas Dean Hall.”
“He told me he has really good friends there,” in New York, Calabrese said. “I think he just really misses it.”
“I am actually quite overwhelmed by all of the support,” she added. “I thought I would have enough to cover the ticket and maybe a little extra for the transition. But, there is quite a lot extra now. He does not know yet about the campaign, from my knowledge, and all of the extra money that I’ve raised for him. I plan on surprising him next week with some friends at the restaurant/bar close by to where he collapsed. I’m extremely excited for this.”
Calabrese said she’s received countless messages from friends and strangers in New York who want to help Hall with housing. She hopes Hall’s story inspires others to make a difference.
“I cannot even put into words how much happiness this has brought to me knowing that I am bringing happiness to him,” Calabrese said.
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