TAMPA (FOX 13) - A chance encounter between a Tampa police officer and a homeless man changed both of their lives forever.
For John Singleton, a typical shopping trip to Home Depot with his wife and 2 grandkids means a whole lot more than just another errand. He's shopping to start his lawn mowing business, but also a chance to shop with the man who put him on the path to a better life.
"He helped me out a whole lot, he helped the whole family,"John Singleton told Fox 13, "We just fell in love with the man."
That man is Tampa Police officer Justin Lee. Lee found the family in a park after hours and was originally going to go with routine and tell them to move on. But after a little conversation, he learned that that park is where John, his wife, and three grandkids called home.
"Something about them tugged at my heartstrings a little bit and I wanted to find out a little bit more about them. After John told me that they were homeless after getting displaced by one of his own family members, and had custody of his three grandchildren, I thought this was a great opportunity to get them on the right path," said Officer Lee.
So using his own money, Officer Lee put the family up in a hotel for a couple of nights then got them into Metropolitan Ministries.
"It's not something that we can look away from. The state isn't going to tolerate children on the streets. I personally won't tolerate children on the streets. I had a duty and a desire at the same time to make sure they are at the right place and are safe." Justin Lee told FOX 13 News.
Through donations, John now has bikes and trailers to carry equipment, and even door hangers to advertise his new business.
It all started from a routine park check, and an officer whose kind heart incited action.
"Nowadays the climate between law enforcement and different communities is kinda rough," Officer Lee acknowledged, "I'm one of a majority of officers that would have done the same thing for this family. I was just blessed enough with this opportunity to do something. I don't know anyone I'm working with that wouldn't do something to help this family."