After noticing 32-year-old Victor Hubbard on the same street corner every day, Clear Lake, Texas native Ginger Sprouse decided to help. After striking up a conversation with Hubbard, the pair developed a friendship that ultimately led to one of the most heartwarming stories of the year.
Hubbard waited on the corner of El Camino Real and Nasa Road 1 for three years straight. It was the last place he ever saw his mother, and Hubbard hoped to see her again. As it turns out, Hubbard suffers from not only homelessness, but also mental health issues.
Sprouse drove by that corner roughly four times a day, and always saw Hubbard. "I began to get more and more concerned as I knew winter was coming," she told My Bay Area Radio. Hubbard's road to recovery all started with a simple hello.
The pair struck up a friendship while Sprouse took her lunch break. Perhaps the thing that surprised Sprouse most is how Hubbard seemed to care more about others than his own predicament.
"I would drive up and he would say, 'How are you doing today?'" Sprouse told KHOU.com. "'Are you doing okay? Don't ever let anybody do you wrong.' Seriously, he always asked about me."
Eventually, she asked him if he'd be ok going to her house to get out of the bad weather.
Sprouse started a Facebook page to introduce the rest of the world to Victor and rally the community around him. "I listen to people talking around town and keep hearing, 'Someone needs to do something about that guy,'" Sprouse writes. "So, I will be the organizer and hope that we as a community can be 'someone' together."
Since creating the page This Is Victor in December, Sprouse says the community completely rallied around Hubbard. Nearly 20,000 people like the page, and a GoFundMe campaign to help offset his living expenses raised $16,000 from nearly 400 people.
Around 200 people showed up to a block party in support of Victor. Even more importantly, Hubbard got off the streets and now works a kitchen job at Sprouse's local business. He's also received attention from mental health clinics, while others donated clothes and helped him receive the medical care he needs. A local fire station promises to oversee Hubbard's medication needs.
And perhaps in the most touching part of the story, Victor finally got to see his mom again. One of his uncles saw the Facebook page and drove in from East Texas to reunite the two. "I got to talk to her and I really feel like I accomplished something," Hubbard said. "No matter what season it is, I will always have that love for her."