For the longest time, Kevin had been wondering why Ruth stayed in her car. After all, the elderly woman had a good home up the driveway! He knew her to be a friendly old lady, but not once had he seen her stay inside her home. When he entered the house, he was shocked by the horrific smell that greeted him. No matter where he looked, he saw piles of trash. This was how he found out that the house was truly uninhabitable. However, the truth is that he had no idea just how bad it really was…
Kevin Did Not Know His Neighbor Very Well
The two of them had been neighbors for a couple of years already. Despite this, Kevin Burns did not know a lot about Ruth. She was a retiree and lived on her own, but that was pretty much everything that he knew about the elderly woman. Of course, this all changed when the two of them became friends!
She Had A House But Lived in A Car
It was impossible not to notice how she slept in her car every night. He had no idea why she would choose to do such a thing when her house was literally a sidewalk away. However, he had not noticed her step inside the house for a couple of weeks already. What could be the problem here?
He Wanted To Know What The Problem Was
Whenever he passed by her car, he would check if she was up and told her hello. There were times when he struck up a conversation. As he continued to do this, he was able to piece together what was going on with the elderly woman. He felt sad to know that she was living and sleeping in her car. He knew that there must be a reason she did such a thing. But why would anyone choose to live like that in the first place?
Her Entire Life Was In The Car
Whenever he looked inside her car, he could see that she did not feel proud of her current situation. But what on earth was making her feel that way? After all, she was still a person with her own house and a car. She might have retired several years ago, but it looked like she was still doing much better than most.
There Was Something Wrong With The House
If you looked at her house, you could easily tell that something was off about it. First of all, the blinds were all shut. It must have been beautiful in the past, but it was in desperate need of repair. The paint was faded, while the windows were covered in dust. The front yard had overgrown grass as well. Kevin wondered if she needed a hand to fix up the place.
The Window Had Not Been Repaired For A Long Time
But the most obvious sign that it was in disrepair was a broken window visible from the front lawn. This worried Kevin, who started to wonder if animals had taken up residence in the house. Could it be what scared Ruth into living in her car? However, the truth about the window was even sadder than that.
No One Was Allowed Inside Her House
One day, Kevin saw that she was in distress. As he passed by her, he heard her crying. Upon checking on Ruth, he saw that she was going through a couple of plastic bags in the backseat. “What’s wrong?” he asked. She told him three words, which were enough to finally make him understand what was actually going on.
A Normal Day For Her
A typical day for Ruth involved going o the local gym and using the bathroom to clean up. After that, she would get fast food that she would eat throughout the day and then return to the car. She kept her things and slept there. Sadly, the car was also in bad shape and did not work anywhere.
She Had Misplaced Something
As she went through her things in the car, she mentally listed down all the things that she had with her. When she made up her mind to start living in her car, she only brought the most valuable objects from her house. However, it turns out that she had forgotten something important to her inside the house. But what could it be?
It Was Nowhere To Be Found
When he first saw her rummaging through her things, Kevin wondered if she had misplaced something. It turned out that he was correct. Ruth stopped her search and pointed a finger at her house. “In the house,” she told him. There were tears in her eyes at that moment. “I left it in the house!”
The House Intimidated Him
She looked afraid to leave the car and go inside her house. This did not make a lot of sense to Kevin at the moment since the vehicle no longer even worked. She then told him, “Maybe you can go inside and get it!” The good thing was that he did not mind doing this. After all, it gave him the opportunity to get an answer to his question at long last. What exactly was Ruth so afraid of inside her own home?
The Roof Needed To Be Repaired
He took matters into his own hands and informed her that he was going inside the house to fetch her precious item. Ruth told him that she wanted a photo of her parents, which she forgot to bring with her. Kevin approached the house and felt a pang of fear as he took in the sight of the broken shingles on the front lawn. He wondered how long the hole in the roof had been there.
He Looked Through The Window
As he got closer to the house, it soon became clear why Ruth packed her valuables and lived in her car instead. It finally made sense why she camped out in her vehicle all those years. Kevin peeked through a window and saw piles of papers, garbage, and clothes. What made it even worse was that he got a whiff of an unpleasant smell coming from inside!
The Door Stopped Everything From Spilling Out
As soon as he entered through the front door, he was greeted by piles of garbage that fell at right at his feet. From the way things looked, the trash in the house would have spilled out into the front lawn if it had not been for the door. Could it have been a mistake to accept the request of his elderly neighbor?
She Asked Kevin To Go Inside
Ruth informed Kevin that she had been looking for an old picture of her parents. Upon entering the house, he saw that the house really was unfit for habitation. In fact, he had a hard time going from one room to other thanks to all the garbage on the floor. He had to hold onto the walls to make his way through the house. On top of that, it was difficult to breathe thanks to the foul odors.
She Wanted Something In The House
He decided to play the good Samaritan and took her up on this. By that point, he wanted nothing more than to get out of that place as soon as possible. Despite this, he was still full of curiosity about this place. But how was he supposed to find a single photograph amidst the piles of things in there?
Trash Was All Over The House
The kitchen turned out to be the worst part of the house. This was where the smell was coming from! The source had been all the dirty dishes that Ruth left in the sink before she left the house. Kevin had to pinch his nose as he entered the room. He was starting to worry about the air quality in there.
The Whole Place Smelled Terrible As Well
It was clear that no one had been in the house for quite some time already. How on earth did it even get to this state? Kevin had no idea where he was even going to look for the photo. After all, it would take weeks to go through all of these things! He also feared that the house would collapse with him in there.
Every Single Room Was A Mess
The rooms all looked the same to Kevin. No matter which direction he faced, he found piles of things. The whole place was in complete disarray, and then some. As he explored the house some more, he started to understand why Ruth decided to simply live in her car instead. The house was a mess!
He Began His Search
If he was going to find her photo, he would have to start at one point or another. This was why he took a look at the papers that looked older than the rest. He began to go through them in the hopes of locating the photo. However, it was going to take him at least hours at the rate that he was going.
He Found Piles Of Trash Everywhere
Kevin went through a pile of papers but found nothing important. He shoved the pile to one side and looked to his right. Dread filled him as he looked at all the piles of files, magazines, and papers waiting for their turn. It looked like the only way to find the photo was to go through all of them one by one.
There Was Dust No Matter Where He Looked
It was clear that the mess was not new. In fact, he had to wear a face mask and gloves to keep himself safe from all the dust in the room. As he went through the objects, dust flew out. There was even a chance that these things have not been moved in decades. In her old age, Ruth would not have been able to move all of these papers on her own.
An Old Book Led Him To The Right Direction
When he took a look at an old book, Kevin could tell that he was getting warmer with his search. He found this book in a box that contained sentimental objects such as a framed diploma and an old trophy. It was interesting to see that it did not have as much dust on it as the other things in the room. After digging through its contents, he finally found the photo! But how was he going to get out of there?
He Finally Found What He Was Looking For
Kevin was surprised to see that the photo had been in pristine condition. This did not match everything else in the house. The photo was faded and yellowed, although it was still in good condition especially compared to the rest of the things in there. Now that he had the photo with him, he was ready to get out of the house as soon as he could. His plan changed after spotting an old and decrepit bookcase.
There Was A Doorway Behind The Bookshelves
It was weird to see the bookcase. Since it was pulled a little to one side, Kevin saw that there was a gaping hole behind it. Knowing that he might not have another chance to inspect it, he pushed them out further and went into the room. By doing this, he stumbled into a place that he did not expect to find!
He Had To Crawl Through A Hole
He could tell that the hole served as an entryway to a different room. It was small, and he had to crawl through it. But why did they need to hide this place behind a bookshelf in the first place? He wondered if he was going to find another blocked entrance to the same room in a different spot in the house.
There Were Cobwebs Blocking His Way
Based on its size, it did not make sense for this tunnel to be the main entrance to the room. After all, it would be inconvenient to crawl inside and out of it every single time. On top of that, it was very dirty. The cobwebs were all the clues that he needed to figure out that no one had used it in a while.
Old But Pristine Photos All Over The Walls
Kevin was surprised by the sight that greeted him. The room looked nothing like the rest of the house! For one thing, it was in good condition. The lighting might have been dim, but he saw colored photos lining the wall. They must have been very important to the person who stayed in that room.
The Hidden Room Was Untouched
Aside from the photos, he found clothes and toys in the room as well. This might be the only clean room in this house, so he wondered why it was so different from the rest. Why did Ruth maintain this place but not the others? He did not have time to speculate, however, as the foul odor was even worse in this area!
A Disturbing Sight Caught Him By Surprise
The worst thing that he saw in the house was in the hallway beside the mystery room. He was disturbed to find a thick coating of black mold on the ceiling. In case you did not know, it is very dangerous to our health. In fact, it might even be deadly in large amounts. This part of the house was very humid. In fact, the paint had started to not only flake but also fall off the walls.
He Knew He Had To Get Out Of There
He knew that he should not be in the house unless he was wearing the proper gear. After all, he had to make sure that his respiratory system was not going to suffer any damage! When he came back to the house, he came ready in a protective suit that would filter the air for him. But he could not do it alone.
It Was A Huge Health Hazard
When he got out of the house, he told Ruth that her house was not safe. After she heard about the black mold, she admitted, “I had no idea it had gotten so bad.” The pair decided that they were going to have a specialist visit the house to take care of the black mold. Aside from the health hazard, Kevin also wanted to bring up the room that was in good condition. He was dying to know more about it!
They Had To Demolish The House
After the specialist paid the house a visit, he told Ruth that she had no other option but to tear down a house. But they had to do it in a way that was not going to put the workmen or neighbors at risk. The only thing that they could do involved the destruction of everything in the house in a short span of time.
It Was The “Worst They Had Ever Seen”
According to the team that visited her house, her case was the “worst they had ever seen.” On top of that, it was impossible to get rid of the mold without putting the lives of everyone in the area at risk. They had to ask for help from the fire department, who was tasked to do the exact opposite of their job. Instead of putting out a fire, they had to start one then and there!
What To Do With Her Things
But what was going to happen to her things? Apparently, most of the items inside the house had to be brought to a dump. There was so much mold in the house that they had no choice but to destroy everything with the exception of a few items. Their exposure to the mold made them health hazards.
Everything Had To Go
The firemen and a couple of volunteers worked together to bring her things to the yard. After that, her belongings were packed up and then shipped away. But how did Ruth feel about all the work needed to clean the house? Let us just say that her reaction took them all by surprise!
A Final Check Before The Demolition
Once those items were no longer in the house, the fire department conducted a final check and prepared for the demolition of the house. We are glad to hear that people in the neighborhood did not hesitate to come there and help out. They cleared the area so that the demolition could begin at last.
They Tried To Save What They Could
Ruth was able to retrieve a couple of items. Even though she was grateful, she still seemed shaken. The truth is that people with hoarding tendencies often have emotional responses when their items are touched by others. This also happens when their belongings are moved from their spot. It is a relief to hear that she was finally ready to leave all of these things in the past! She was now ready to move on.
She Felt Torn
The cleanup team had been ready to comfort her in this tough time in her life. However, they were surprised by her reaction. Ruth broke down in tears as she had to bid adieu to her home. However, she made sure to thank all the members of the fire department and the volunteers. At long last, she now had the chance to move forward and start over.
The Remaining Things Were Scattered On Her Lawn
It was quite scary to see how many objects had been packed into her small house. This can be taken as proof that things can literally pile up when you are going through emotional difficulties. Things can truly get out of hand, especially when you are alone and have no one to help you pick up the pieces.
A Last Look
The fire department conducted a final check of the house before they went on with the demolition. Kevin Burns, of course, was still around. There was one thing on his mind as this was going on. Could any of the things in the secret room be salvaged? He wanted to find out for the sake of his neighbor!
The Mystery Of The Hidden Room
As the firemen brought out several bigger pieces of furniture that had to be thrown out, Kevin realized something. It dawned on him that he had not yet seen anything from the hidden room. However, it felt like it was too late for him to salvage even a single item from the house.
It Was For The Best
The people from the fire department wanted to burn down her house for her own sake. Ruth knew that she already had all of her important items with her in the car. She had already been living there for the past couple of weeks, after all. Soon enough, she learned that getting rid of the house would lift a burden off of her shoulders!
Her House Burned To The Ground
Kevin and Ruth watched as the fire consumed the house. It was soon engulfed in flames. As if she could tell what he was thinking, she turned to him and gave him an answer to his question. “That room was where my husband passed away. I didn’t have the heart to go in there after he was gone,” she told him.
None Of Them Got Hurt
The firemen had to stay at the site until the wee hours to ensure that the burning embers were not going to reignite. As you can imagine, it was dangerous to do such a thing. The team had to ensure that the flames won’t spread to the nearby houses or put the neighbors in any danger. However, what was her plan now that her home was gone?
The Start Of A New Chapter
Where did Ruth plan to go now that her house has been totally and completely destroyed? It was not possible for her to stay in the car for the rest of her life. It was a good thing that some of her friends came up with a great idea. At any rate, it was much better than living in her car!
Time For A Fresh Start
Ruth already had all of her important belongings in the car. It was now up to Kevin to help her look for a new place to call home. Luckily, he found a nearby senior citizen community that looked like it would be good for her. After what she has been through, it was time for her to stay in a warm and inviting place.
The Community Gave Her A Warm Welcome
We are glad to hear that the community welcomed her with open arms. Even though she was still coping with the loss of her husband, she felt better now that she was surrounded by her peers. Of course, it also helped that she now had a place to live. She no longer had anything to fear.
Making New Friends And New Memories
Her quality of life improved exponentially the moment as soon as she stopped living in the car. She does not eat fast food anymore and now exercises on a regular basis. Aside from that, she has stayed in touch with her neighbor. If it had not been for Kevin Burns, none of these things would have happened! We are glad to hear that she is now doing much better.
Her Life Has Improved A Lot Since Then
At long last, things were looking up for Ruth. She now has the opportunity to heal from the loss of her husband and stop her hoarding tendencies. In the end, it took the support of a kind community to change the tide for her. We are glad to hear that she is now doing better at the shelter! And let us not forget that this would not have been possible if it were not for the kindness displayed by her neighbor.