People spend their whole childhood and adolescence imagining a bright future for themselves, one filled with a beautiful family and fueled by a great career. But life doesn’t always deal those cards to everyone, and for many, tragedy or hard times cause them to lose everything. You never imagine yourself as one of those people. You believe if you work hard, everything will work out, but sadly that isn’t always the case. Now, can you imagine losing everything? Imagine you’re left with nothing. You have no family, friends, or home. That’s where “Smiley” was when we met him. He was homeless and living in Downtown Greenville.
Smiley was a peaceful man, who never complained about his plight, because he loved life and he loved his freedom. One night, he was minding his own business and crossing the street lawfully when a drunk driver barrelled through the intersection, throwing Smiley over the car and hurling him back onto the street. Smiley sustained fractured ribs and legs, among other injuries. He was sent to the hospital immediately, and while he was there, confused and not knowing what else to do, he reached out to us at Guest & Brady.
This case wasn’t a typical one by any means, we had to do everything in our power to even find him, and we did eventually reach him by asking around to other homeless people in the area. We were able to negotiate and help him recover money to pay his medical bills, and even helped him open a bank account with the leftover money to get him off on the right foot. The story seemed to end on a positive note, until almost exactly a year later.
In a horrible turn of events, Smiley passed away from another accident a year after his first accident. He was hit, again. Because Smiley was such a special person, we knew we had to do something. As a firm, we pursued a claim and negotiated on his behalf and negotiated with a local funeral home to take his body. We even invited members of the homeless community to his funeral. It was such a beautiful scene, where his friends who were a part of his community played organ and even led worship for his service. Everyone was truly touched, especially because we found his ex wife who had a child who was somewhat raised by Smiley, although he wasn’t a blood relative. The child spoke so beautifully at the funeral and everyone was moved to tears.
This really was a unique case, mostly because there were no blood relatives to receive his rewarded money, so we used the leftover money to provide meals for the homeless at a local shelter in Greenville. It was a joy to honor Smileys memory, knowing he’s now in a place of ultimate freedom.