Is this about Chester County? No, although we have our share of homeless too.
This is about the true goodness in human beings that exists in spite of mankind today.
A chance conversation between two strangers brings a homeless man off the street
Updated: APRIL 15, 2017 — 9:00 AM EDT
Jonathan Sweet knows that Jesus loves him. But until he met Michelle McHugh, he wasn’t sure anyone else did.
“I had almost given up on humanity,” says Sweet, 52, a single, childless Havertown native who was homeless for seven years until a chance meeting with McHugh changed his fortunes. “Not every homeless person is a criminal or an addict. But people treat you like you’re a second-class citizen. It gets you down.”….Last December, he and McHugh were chatting at the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby. McHugh, who lives in Havertown, was waiting for a train to Philly, where she works as associate director of Drexel University’s television management program….Christmas was approaching. McHugh asked Sweet where he’d spend the day.
“Over there,” he answered, pointing to a forested area within walking distance of the neighborhood where McHugh lives with her husband, Jim, and their preschool son, Nolan.
“I was shocked,” says McHugh, 43. “While my family was warm inside a nice house, Jon was living in the woods behind us. It was heart-wrenching.”…..On Holy Thursday, Sweet moved into his new home, which is fully furnished thanks to donations and the enthusiastic services of Havertown interior designer Liz MacDonald (who even managed to find a sofa in purple, Jon’s favorite color).
I remember when Michelle McHugh started the GoFundMe page to help.
You see, I am lucky enough to call Michelle McHugh a friend.
Michelle and I met many years ago through our dear mutual friend Sherry Tillman. Sherry, the proprietoress of Ardmore, PA’s Past*Present*Future is also the founder of First Friday Main Line.
We were planning a non-profit special event to benefit First Friday Main Line called “Foodapalooza” and Sherry tossed Michelle and I and our cameras together one Saturday to photograph chefs and local restaurants. Michelle and I had been introduced, but this was what really brought us together as friends. That and Sherry’s uncanny ability to share her friends and bring more people together. This was in 2009.
I still love the photos I took that afternoon as I felt they were inspired by the company.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Michelle (who lives with MS) was one of my cheerleaders. Her positivity was contagious and she was one of my friends who buoyed me through quite the life challenge. She always just checked in. Totally casual, no big deal, how are you doing, you’ve got this.
In 2012 when she and her husband welcomed their miracle baby, I was one of the ones who could cheer her on. She is an example of unwavering faith and goodness.
So am I surprised that my friend Michelle took on this project? No, although project is the wrong word because her efforts are so indicative of her heart and soul.
Michelle is a kind and loving and humble person and she deserves the accolades and a beautiful article by Ronnie Polaneczky.
In the world we live in, it’s easy to tear people down. What’s hard and shouldn’t be, is paying it forward just because it’s the right thing to do.
On the holy weekend that is Easter is the perfect time to hear the story of Jon Sweet and his friend, who is also my friend, Michelle McHugh.
Sometimes it is hard to believe in the goodness of others, but this is such a reminder of why we just have to believe. It is also a reminder that it’s the right thing to pay it forward, and that doing good and doing the right thing has rewards more precious than money.
This is also a story of love and friendship and the many forms they both take.
I am so very proud of my friend Michelle.