First responders went above and beyond to help a homeless, disabled woman and her dog stuck in the rain and paid out of their own pockets to check the two into a hotel and make sure they’d be safe and dry.
The Fire Station 37 crew responded to a 911 dispatch about a woman complaining of foot pain at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday in Lauderdale Lakes, a city in Broward County, Fla. However, what they expected to be an EMS call to transport her to the hospital turned out to be something quite different.
According to Daniel Rodriguez of the Fire Station 37 crew, the woman had upwards of 10 bags and boxes of personal belongings. She shared an emotional story about how she had been evicted from her home and recently lost her mother, whom she had been looking after full-time.
The crew tried to check all the boxes and go through the proper route by reaching out to appropriate shelters and programs that may be able to help the woman with continued assistance, but it was to no avail.
“We contacted Broward Sherrif’s Office about a homeless outreach program we have, but that’s only 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., so the service was unavailable.” Rodriguez tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We couldn’t go to a shelter because she had a dog with her. We were left with our hands tied.”
The trio already knew that they had to get her some place safe. “It was raining, it was the middle of the night, the area was not great in terms of crime and the dog was older and sick,” says Rodriguez.
The crew called local hotels to search for a place for the night, and asked the woman to point out the necessities and sentimental items she needed before they moved her.
“We got her on the stretcher and she told us which items to grab for her,” Rodriguez recounts. Once they arrived at a hotel, the crew went in and split the charge for the room.
“We’ve never felt like this — all 3 of us unanimously felt compassion for this lady,” says Rodriguez. “She was very appreciative, she cried with us, she talked with us about personal things. It wasn’t just assistance, she also needed someone to talk to.”
The crew gave the woman contact numbers and information about local shelters for assistance, and while it is uncertain where she is now, she said that her brother was expected to come and help her out the next day.
Rodriguez attributes the selfless gesture to the feeling they get when they go back to the station and know that they “impacted someone’s life.”
District Chief, Ken Kronheim tells Yahoo Lifestyle that this isn’t out of the ordinary for the team at Broward. “That’s kind of how we try to operate in the City of Lauderdale Lakes. We’re proactive about going the extra mile,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I always tell the crew that the saving of lives is expected, but when we do the unexpected — whether it’s picking someone out in the rain and bringing them home or buying someone groceries — that’s when we wow the community.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: