The streets of Nairobi, Kenya, are full of homeless children.
They often dart around in traffic, begging for money at stoplights. It’s not that they are greedy, lazy, or any of the other cruel stereotypes people often attribute to homeless children. It’s that they have nothing. If strangers don’t give, these boys and girls don’t eat.
That’s what makes the actions of young John Thuo so inspiring. In the winter of 2016, this homeless boy met someone who would change his life. A local media consultant and radio personality, Njogu Njoroge, shared an image of the moment on social media. According to Njoroge’s report, John was begging from drivers as they stopped in the busy Nairobi traffic. He approached the window of a car, where he encountered Gladys Kamande. Kamande was sitting in the passenger seat clutching an oxygen tank and a generator.Kamande’s troubles started back in 2010, reports Nairobi News. She developed a growth in her stomach. Surgeons removed it, but complications led to a series of 12 more surgeries. During her treatment, Kamande’s lungs collapsed. She lost her eyesight and is now legally blind.
If she ever wants to breathe without the oxygen assistance again, Kamande will have to have expensive surgery to repair her lungs. That’s why she was riding around in a friend’s car that day. She was asking for a little help herself. She hoped to raise the 7 million Kenyan shillings (around US $67,700) she would need to pay for the procedure.
John asked Kamande why she was carrying around so much medical equipment. She shared her story with the boy right there in traffic. To her surprise, John didn’t ask her for more money. He simply began to weep.