During the winter holiday season, we decided to make a video asking the Homeless what they wanted for Christmas and give them their gift-wrapped choice. That’s when I met Cristian, a sweet kid living on the streets for about 6 months. When I asked what he wanted, he said “to go back home to Guatemala.”
The following week I took him to the Guatemala Consulate where we meet with the Consul and Vice-Consul. Days later they found his birth certificate. He was indeed from Guatemala, but they couldn’t find his family.
At a holiday party, Miami Beach Officer Negron met a priest. He said he was from Guatemala and Officer Negron couldn’t help but tell him the story. Sure enough, he was from the same ‘pueblo’ (small city) as Cris and knew his mother, who is near to being homeless herself. Later on, we found an uncle and aunt in better circumstances.
“It takes a village” and this sure was true in granting Cris his holiday gift – down to the last moment! We started getting donations from the community for his airfare. Ticket purchased. There is no more reason for Cris to sleep another night on the streets. I asked the Gaythering Hotel if he could use one of their rooms for a shower and to stay put until the time to go to the airport. Gaythering Hotel immediately agreed with a complimentary room! Cris was supposed to meet me at the hotel, but he never showed… I couldn’t find him… He will miss his flight!!! I contacted MBPD. Within minutes Chief Oats shared Cris’ picture with every officer. Everyone was on the lookout for him! OMG, he’s going to miss his flight!!!!!!!! My son and I went to McDonald’s looking for him, as well. As we parked, I saw another Homeless by the drive thru, so I grabbed a Blessing Bag I had in the car to give to him before walking in. He says “your friend is across the street.” (I didn’t ask him anything, I just offered the bag). I stuttered asking him “wha-wha-what friend? What are you talking about.” He said “the kid”. I didn’t even think, I ran across Alton Rd. (with the bag). There he was (uff!).
Back to McDonalds to get a meal for Cris and ‘his finder’.
Cris enjoyed the shower, hospitality and accommodations from the Gaythering. My son gave him clothes, while I washed his sweater. MBPD Sgt. Berrian came to check on him. We took a picture all together with the hotel manager. Sgt. Berrian shared with the other police officers and wrote: ‘The Village’.
Cris has been reunited with his family. His uncle & aunt will now be his parents.