One of the best things about traveling is getting to see and experience firsthand how other people live their day-to-day lives, for better or for worse. Sometimes, you’re so moved by what you see in the moment that you snap a pic with your phone. That is exactly what Dick Smith did upon coming across a homeless family living under a bridge in Vadodara, India. When he got home a few weeks later he showed his friend Chris Bray (below) the photo of the family and asked if he would help him send them aid.
The picture includes a little girl wearing nothing but a pink bracelet, and it set the stage for a real life mission impossible. Dick felt such empathy for this family and really wanted to see if there was any way he could help provide them shelter. He also hoped to fund the girl’s education. Knowing full well that, by this point, they could be anywhere, and that they might not even want his help, he still wanted Chris to try.
Chris agreed to look for the family, and shortly after, he and his wife Jess were off to India. All they had to work with was a distant photo of the family and a Google Maps location. Making their hunt even more challenging, the girl and all her family were looking the other way in the picture.
The receptionist at the hotel they were staying at, fortunately, agreed to act as a translator and joined them in their hunt to find this little girl.
You can imagine how overwhelmed the unsuspecting family was by this generosity. Divya was initially very shy (perhaps out of fear that she was actually in trouble) but they reassured her that nothing was wrong and told her the story of the photo taken from the train. They explained that they were looking for her because someone wanted to help her.
The family had been living under the bridge for 12 years. Divya had spent her entire life there and was even born there, without the help of a nurse. Her father worked as a day labourer but wasn’t earning enough to afford a house while also raising three children. They decided to wait for him to come home before discussing how they could help Divya and her family.
On the afternoon of day 2 in Vadodara India, the small family shyly walked into the bank manager’s office and sat down.
After chatting with the father, it became immediately apparent that he was working hard but still simply unable to make ends meet. Chris said in his Facebook album that ” he seems like a genuine, hard working man, loves his family, and just struggling to get ahead. Thankfully it seems they weren’t under the bridge because he has some hardcore addiction or something – they seem like the perfect family not only in need of some assistance, but able and willing to be helped.”
Chris and Jess were grateful to be the bearers of such generous and life changing news. Dick explains “that [he] wanted to pay rent for them to move into a house, help Divya get a good education, help the father earn a better wage to help them start to help themselves etc.”