Maria LeBlanc became homeless when she was 50. For nearly the next 15 years, she relied on the generosity of others while living on the streets of Vancouver, Wash.
She would hold up a cardboard sign, asking for money, which she would then use for food and supplies for her camp. Standing off of a freeway exit for hours was boring, so she would make up little rhymes in her head. When she returned to camp, she’d jot them down on a piece of paper.
One day, she got inspiration for a new poem, thanks to a Wolf Cub Scout. The boy and his father drove by her, then went shopping and bought a pair of gloves and a hat before returning to LeBlanc. The Cub Scout handed the items to her along with a $10 bill, and said, “God bless you, ma’am. Stay safe, and always Be Prepared.”
“It actually brought tears to my eyes,” LeBlanc says. “It was little events like this that kept me going through all the years I was homeless. Things that kept me from losing faith in mankind.”
Three years ago, an outreach worker approached LeBlanc and helped get her in a rent house, where she has lived ever since. Though she doesn’t know the identity of the Cub Scout in the yellow neckerchief, his brief action demonstrates the impact helping others can have.
“I will never forget that little boy for as long as I live,” she says. “He was the model Cub Scout in his manner, compassion and willingness to help.”
She has continued to write, penning more than 400 poems, including this one recounting that Cub Scout’s Good Deed:
Holding a sign up on a corner
hoping for some cash
Hardly a driver went by
without a homeless bash
I was totally discouraged
I hadn’t eaten that day
Getting ready to hang it up
When a little boy came over my way
He couldn’t have been more than eight
and wearing a Cub Scout uniform
He held out a shopping bag
with a hat and mittens to keep me warm
Then he handed me a ten
and this is what he shared
“God bless you ma’am. Stay safe,
and always Be Prepared.”