She Thought This Home Was Abandoned. The Man She Found Inside Changed Her Life Forever

March 22, 2016

This is Leslie, an explorer of Ontario's many abandoned places.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
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Known as "The Tourist," she takes photos of abandoned homes and scenery and posts them on Instagram.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
Instagram

But one day she walked into what she thought was an abandoned house, and it changed her life forever.

I will let you discover this story just as I had, through her words and Instagram posts...

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
Instagram

This is Lawrence. He lives in a house I had believed to be abandoned.

The driveway is overgrown, the roof is caving in and the interior would lead anyone to believe this land had been deserted. I found him in the living room.

He has a hard time getting around so he spends most of his time in there. Alone. He is missing his right eye and has cataracts infecting the left. Even after noticing a stranger essentially helping themselves to his life, he was nothing but sweet and kind to me. He was even nice enough to let me take his picture which I will always treasure.

He is a beautiful soul and I plan on visiting him a lot. I'm posting this picture in hopes that it will inspire at least one person to reach out to someone they may have lost contact with or perhaps just forgot about.

These old souls are still full of life and I feel blessed to have met this one.

I'm making him some meals to take over this week. I don't think he's eating very well.. If at all. Some veggie soup and mashed potatoes will hopefully help fill him up a bit. Easy to chew but good for the soul. He overwhelmed me with how kind he was.. I can only hope to return the favour a bit.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
Instagram

Tonight was the first of what will be many dinner dates with my new friend. Over the course of 3 hours we ate and drank and laughed. I was fortunate enough to hear about his life.. His struggles and his triumphs. This truly was one of the best experiences of my life & I can't wait to share another meal with such a gentle soul.

He is THE kindest man. He has melted my heart. I brought him some chilli and tea biscuits and some snacks for the next few days until I can make it back later this week. I hope to have most of the trash cleared out and a few repairs done by the end of the summer. Give him a bit of his home back :)

He breaks my heart and puts it all back together in the same visit :) he told me he suffered a stroke about a week ago. He said he couldn't move his hands.. It took him over 4 days to seek medical attention. This was just one of many heartbreaking stories I heard last night. He just needs a friend.. Someone to make sure he's okay .. Reassure him he is loved

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
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The house that stole my heart – this is the exterior of my new friends home.

Tonight we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful evening. He explained to me how his injuries started in 2000 when a bull fractured his hip. He told me of his brothers illness and how they have lost touch.

He said I was a blessing to him.

I told him I couldn't put into words what he means to me.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
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Dinner dates done right, keep your promises.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
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Lunch with a friend.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
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Promises kept.

An update on my friend – he is in good spirits and is very happy to have some room in his home. I've managed to remove his old fridge, stove, and chest freezer, along with numerous bags of garbage and other content.

This was all made possible by a very generous company and a few awesome boys with big hearts and strong lower backs. I can't thank everyone enough for their support and generosity during this period in my life – and in his. He is beyond grateful, not just to me.

He knows you are all following his story :) After a few recent visits to the doctors, it's apparent that his health is declining, rapidly. These may be the last few months I have with my friend and I plan to make them as comfortable and enjoyable for him as possible.

He's informed me of his funeral arrangements and has asked me to be there. I told him I wouldn't have it any other way. He shared something with me that will stay with me forever. He said the day I showed up was the best day of his life.

As self righteous as I feel writing that, I understand how he feels. The best day of my life was when I met him. He gave me the chance to really do something for someone – an act of kindness with no expectation of reward. It's a rare opportunity and I'm glad I was able to accept the challenge. – xo

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
Instagram

Update: A few weeks ago my friend asked if I would go to a church BBQ with him … Our first outing!!!

I was so happy he had asked me and couldn't wait to go. Tonight was our dinner date … The food was amazing .. Provided by the local farmers in the neighbourhood and way too much pie baked by all their lovely wives.

It was great to see him out of the house and around the people he's known his whole life. Driving home tonight I couldn't help but think to myself how lucky I am to have this opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful persons life.

My friend is truly a blessing.

woman finds abandoned man inspiring story
Instagram

Well it's been a while since I've posted anything about this handsome fella so I figured I'd give everyone following his story an update.

After a prolonged stay at two different hospitals after his last stroke, Lawrence is now living at a local retirement home and doing much better. He's safe and warm and seems to be fairly happy to be around some new people, although I know he misses home.

I bring my dog Violet with me when I go for my visits, and she has now become a favourite around the home and she seems to enjoy herself thoroughly (indulging in yet another cookie as seen above). His birthday is coming up shortly (Valentines day) and we can't wait to celebrate with him, properly… With less pastry for the puppy.

abandoned home man becomes friend
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Happy Birthday to this young fella.

This is definitely not the end of the story between Leslie and Lawrence. Follow The Tourist on Instagram for updates!

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