Dana Lee Calabrese, a creative director, was walking to dinner in Hollywood when a homeless man collapsed in front of her. She was shocked and called 911 in an effort to get the man help, not knowing that while his health may be taken care of, his belongings would not.
When the paramedics arrived, she asked an EMT if they would be taking his belongings to keep them safe and he said something that “sent chills down [her] spine”:
“No, are you? A million more dominoes fall a day around here.”
Unable to shake what the EMT said to her and the thought that this man with so few possessions would lose all of them, Calabrese did what many others would not even think to do: she walked the cart all the way back to her home for safekeeping. She told Good News Network, “I had hidden the cart in the garage of my condo building.”
A handwritten sign on the side of the cart identified the man as Douglas Dean Hall, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with a prosthetic limb. Since Calabrese knew it would be difficult to locate him once he was discharged from the hospital, she gave her phone number to the paramedics and told them to make sure Hall received it so he could contact her.
Considering the apathy that the EMTs displayed, it’s no surprise that she never heard from Hall. Refusing to abandon Hall and his belongings, she made one last move to help him recover his things and posted a plea on Facebook so that people could keep a look out for him.
Weeks later, Maryam Ramezani commented, “I found him. He’s on Highland and Hollywood.” Ramezani said that after she saw the social media post, she kept a look out for names on signs and finally identified Douglas Dean Hall. She told him to stay put because someone was looking for him.
Calabrese, her husband, and a neighbor set out to find Hall soon after seeing the comment with his whereabouts and it was Calabrese herself who spotted him. She recalls what happened:
“I saw him coming from across the street towards me and I basically just started jumping and clapping cause I was so excited. I was screaming out his name, ‘DOUGLASSSS!’
“He was looking at me really excitedly but he also looked confused, because I don’t think he actually believed that someone held onto his stuff.
“He cried several times—and at one point he screamed ‘God is good!’ at the top of his lungs. He just kept telling me that I was an angel and kissing me on the top of my head.”
As though this genuine act of kindness was not enough, Calabrese saw that his sign said he was trying to save money to go to New York. After speaking with him, she learned that he had some very good friends out there and was looking to reunite with them.
She started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Hall and wound up raising four times her goal. She was able to buy him a plane ticket and used the rest of the money to buy him food, luggage, hygiene products, shoes, food gift cards, and a prepaid Visa gift card for his own purchases once he arrived. These were all presented to him at a going away party.
This moving story of how one woman’s concern for another human being turned into a memorable act of love shows that humanity still exists, and Douglas Dean Hall is likely to never forget what Dana Lee Calabrese did for him at one of his most vulnerable moments.