Adventurous Photographer Enters Old, ‘Abandoned’ House and Ends Up Finding an Unexpected Friend

September 10, 2019 Updated: September 18, 2019

Leslie David, from Ontario, Canada, is in the habit of exploring eerie, abandoned places. While out exploring one day, she opened the door of what looked like an abandoned house while out taking photos and got the shock of her life.

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Going by the handle “The Tourist” on Instagram, Leslie has a passion for photographing and finding the beauty in derelict spaces. On this particular outing, Leslie’s imagination was captured by a shabby-looking red-brick house with a sagging, green-shingled roof and a yard overgrown with weeds and grass.

She admired the abode from the sidewalk and took photos of the exterior, and when curiosity overtook her, she ventured inside. What she found lurking in the shadows would change her life forever.

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“The house that stole my heart,” Leslie wrote, beside the first of many photos that would document her journey. “The driveway is overgrown, the roof is caving in and the interior would lead anyone to believe this land had been deserted.”

It hadn’t, as she soon found out.

To her shock, she found that the derelict home wasn’t abandoned after all. Inside the house, Leslie met an old man named Lawrence.

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“This is Lawrence,” she later wrote on her Instagram page. “I found him in the living room.”

As so happened, Lawrence had been injured in the year 2000; a bull fractured his hip. He had also lost his right eye and had cataracts infecting his left.

As far as family members, Lawrence’s brother had fallen ill, and the siblings had lost touch.

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“He has a hard time getting around,” Leslie explained, “so he spends most of his time in there. Alone.”

Although, Lawrence had made his presence known to the young photographer, he showed no grievance at her presence. “He was nothing but sweet and kind to me,” Leslie wrote. “He was even nice enough to let me take his picture which I will always treasure.”

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“He is a beautiful soul,” Leslie added, “and I plan on visiting him a lot.”

She kept to her word.

Shortly after their unexpected first meeting, Leslie and Lawrence met for dinner. “Over the course of 3 hours, we ate and drank and laughed,” she wrote. Lawrence recounted the trials and tribulations of his life, and Leslie listened, captivated.

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Having cemented their friendship, Leslie’s efforts turned toward helping Lawrence regain some control over his living space and his life. She helped him to remove his old fridge, stove, chest freezer, and numerous bags of garbage from the property.

“This was all made possible by a very generous company,” Leslie clarified, “and a few awesome boys with big hearts and strong lower backs.”

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Despite her efforts to help Lawrence improve his life, his years began to catch up with him. His health was falling into rapid decline.

“These may be the last few months I have with my friend,” Leslie revealed, “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,” she added.

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Despite his failing health, Lawrence’s new friendship had drastically reinvigorated his spirit. He asked Leslie if she would accompany him to a church barbecue, and the photographer readily agreed. It was their first time leaving the house for an outing.

The months that followed ushered in highs, lows, and some difficult decisions: Lawrence suffered a stroke, was admitted into the hospital, and was later accepted as a resident into a local retirement home. Leslie made sure to visit him often with her dog Violet, who became something of a celebrity among the elderly residents.

Leslie visited Lawrence on his birthday on Feb. 14, 2016, and a touching photo shows the photographer’s friend beaming beside his birthday cupcake. Leslie’s last update from her photo series is dated Jan. 11, 2018. The pair met for what had become a private tradition: bingo night.

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Messages from interested followers have since flooded Leslie’s account, enquiring as to whether Lawrence is still alive. To date, Leslie is keeping the epilogue close to her chest. But perhaps the important details are in the meeting, and not the ending.

“These old souls are still full of life,” Leslie wrote, “and I feel blessed to have met this one […] He said I was a blessing to him. I told him I couldn’t put into words what he means to me.”

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