Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in difficult or uncomfortable situations. But often it’s just a short-term setback on our journey to something better.
When this family found themselves temporarily without a home, the last person they expected dropped by and offered some temporary shelter.
When Robert Wood and his family were sleeping in their car, a cop approached them.
In February 2015, Robert Wood had just returned from Alaska to the city of Eugene, Oregon, with his pregnant wife and two young sons. They hadn’t secured permanent housing yet, so they decided to sleep in their car at Alton Baker Park in order to save money.
As they stayed the night at the park, 4-year-old Samuel slept on Wood’s lap and 2-year-old Logan slept on his wife, Heather’s, lap. They were sleeping peacefully in their car when a police officer knocked on their window.
It was 10:30 p.m. The park would be closing in 30 minutes. They thought that the officer was going to give them a warning and tell them to leave. Yet he did something very kind instead.
Lieutenant David Natt offered the family a two-night stay at the Campus Inn. He empathized with the family knowing that struggling through a cold night while taking care of children must be very challenging.
“Any of us could be right where they’re at,” Natt told KMTR 16 News. “It doesn’t take much. And like I told him, you give him an opportunity to gain a bit of time. A little bit of time is so valuable, and it’s so meaningful to them.”
Wood and his family were given a two-night stay at a hotel.
Natt was able to do all this for them because of a fund set up five years ago by University Fellowship Church. Despite having those funds available though, Natt has paid for many kind acts out of pocket over the years including buying boots, cups of coffee, and even other hotel rooms.
“It’s part of our three-word motto,” said Natt, “protect, serve and care. And you have to take each one of those in all circumstances to heart when you’re making your decision.”
While he had only stayed in the hotel for two nights, he was able to get a lot done in that short time. He was able to arrange temporary housing with a friend in the area, and a week later they were settled in a permanent home.
All in all, Woods was very grateful for Natt’s kind act.
“He made me want to be able to do the same kinds of things for other people,” Wood told KMTR. “He took away the shame and let me know that he’s just a person, I’m just a person, and things like this happen. It was moving.”
In fact, he was so moved that he shared the story on Facebook after just one night in the hotel. Word about the story got passed around quickly. As of June 2018, the post has received over 3,600 shares and over 10,000 reactions.
News of the story spread across social media.
I have tears in my eyes.Having just pulled into Eugene, Oregon last night, my family has not yet found a place to stay….
As the story spread all across the internet, Wood and his family received pleasant messages from all over the world.
A few months later his wife gave birth to a baby girl, and Wood found full-time work.
In 2018 the family are still doing great, with another baby boy added to the family, and Wood has started his own glazing business.
“I will never forget what that man did for me. It was far deeper than a hotel room for a few nights. It was an encouragement and love exactly when I needed it most,” Woods wrote in a 2015 Facebook comment.