DEWITT, Mich. — This week's Good Neighbor is a frequent customer at the Taco Bell on Herbison Road in DeWitt. Earlier last month, he says, his curiosity got the best of him, and he asked the drive-through attendant a question.
He says her answer changed both of their lives.
During one of his lunch visits to Taco Bell, Dave Schmitt says he noticed a truck and a camper parked in the parking lot. Dave says he had seen it for the past several days and his curiosity got the best of him, so he asked the drive-through attendant about it.
"I said, 'What's the story with this truck and camper that are out there?' And the drive-through attendant said, 'Well, that's where me and my son live.' And that's how I came to meet Miss Margie," said Schmitt.
Miss Margie, otherwise known as Margie Wolfe, says she's lived in the camper since July along with her son and their three dogs.
"When I told him that I lived there, he said, 'Okay. I didn't realize you are homeless.' I said, 'It's hard. I've been homeless since February of this year because of the COVID. I couldn't get my rent paid up in time and could not stay where I was. So that's when I end up in the camper,'" Wolfe said.
Dave says he immediately wanted to help Margie.
"You just can't help but know that you're in the right place at the right time. And I did really feel like there was a reason I struck up that conversation and got to know about her. Immediately I just started doing what I could to help her," Schmitt said.
Wolfe said being homeless is not easy.
"The hardest part of being homeless is not being able to cook a fresh meal for your family," she said. "It's hard to take a bath. It's hard not to sleep in an inflatable bed. It's hard, but Dave has come a long way and helped me out a lot."
Dave says hearing Margie's story spurred him into action.
He began visiting the restaurant as often as possible to give Margie whatever extra money he had.
Within a few months, Margie told Dave she'd saved up enough money to get her own apartment. In October, she moved into her new place, and again Dave says he knew he could do more, so he went to work helping her furnish it.
"I had messaged her and said, 'I have a bed. Could you use a bed?' Absolutely she could. Other friends, family, and coworkers were aware of what was going on back then and started offering stuff as well. I'd send her a message saying, 'Hey, do you need a lazy boy, kitchen stuff, and bath stuff? And quickly, we were putting stuff together," said Schmitt.
In talking to Dave, we learned this isn't the first time he's stepped up to be a good neighbor.
In 2018, he raised money to help Jessica Ford, who was a waitress at Deluca's Pizza. At the time, she had to skip a lot of her shifts to take care of her mom, who had terminal cancer.
Jessica says Dave is an unsung hero.
"I was focusing on spending time with my mom and getting what she needed. He was great. I always loved waiting on Dave. Every time he came in, he would anonymously pay for another table's meal. I always love that about him," she said.
Jessica says she isn't surprised Dave stepped up to help Margie. She says Dave is a perfect example of a good neighbor.
Margie says she couldn't agree more.
Dave is still working hard to help Margie, who is currently walking to work because her truck needs new brakes.
Dave is raising money to buy her new ones.
If you would like to help Dave in his ongoing mission to be a great neighbor, you can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Schmitt, for going above and beyond and helping Margie and Jessica when they needed help the most, you are this week's Good Neighbor.
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