If you’re a local in the South Los Angeles neighborhoods, you probably know Irene “Smokie” McGee.
Everyone knew who she was, always said hi to her, and was generally kind.
A man by the name of Elvis Summers noticed that once nighttime rolled around, people suddenly seemed to no longer care about McGee’s wellbeing.
Irene McGee was a homeless 60-year-old woman, whom Elvis Summers very familiar. He had met her one day, as she knocked on his door asking for recyclables to cash in for money. Summers was under the impression that she had somewhere outside with at least a covering over her head like a box to sleep, for protection. This wasn’t the case, as she had been sleeping in the dirt every single night.
Summer’s heart broke at the thought of McGee never getting to have a good night’s rest, and even have any basic protection. He was moved by her situation and was compelled to help fix it. He couldn’t let it go on any longer.
“I started asking more questions about her to see what her story was,” Summers told ABC News. “I learned she didn’t have anything, not even a cardboard box. She was literally sleeping in the dirt and I just wanted to make her a place where she could feel comfortable and at least get a good night’s sleep.
“So, I asked her ‘what would you think if I built you a mini house’ and I think she thought I was crazy. I saw online that people were building these tiny homes. I had done construction before, so figured that’s easy — I could do that.”
“We are all human,” Summers said. “It could be somebody’s sister, grandmother, or somebody’s kids out there. She was very grateful. She’s very sweet and she said ‘no one’s ever done anything for me.’ When I first met her, until now, she looks like a different person. She seems legitimately happy now.”
As long as the mini home was moved to a different spot every 72 hours, the city supported it.
After finding out this knowledge, he had noticed people building tiny homes were booming all over the country. Lucky for Summers, he had construction experience, so he decided to make a tiny home just for McGee
Relying on his previous experience, he went to his local home improvement store and spend about $500 on supplies. With one man and his tools, five days later he had a finished product that would change McGee’s life forever.
Unfortunately, McGee passed away in November of 2016. Although, this act of kindness and her presence will forever remain. In only a few short days, Summers had created something that would leave a lasting impression forever.
Acts of kindness can create something great. This small project evolved into something much bigger. After helping McGee, Summers had crowdsourced over $50k for his new organization Starting Human. His plan is to continue building mini homes for the homeless, just like he did for McGee.
Summers is a clear example of human kindness we can show others when we have the means.
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