Poor Homeless Man Finds Abandoned Car to Hide from Cold, Outraged Neighbor Sets It on Fire — Story of the Day

A homeless man named Jack and his dog Zeus hide in an abandoned car to escape the wintry weather, but one day an evil neighbor sets it on fire while they are in the car. Luckily, an older woman comes to their rescue.

Fifty-year-old Jack was wandering the streets one evening looking for a place to stay out of the cold when he came across an old car in a deserted Watertown neighborhood.

“Zeus, look!” he gushed to his furry friend, whom he’d met two years ago while wandering the streets in search of leftovers. “I guess we finally found a place to hide from the cold. I don’t think anyone uses it.”

Zeus and Jack stayed in a car to shield themselves from the cold | Photo: Shutterstock

Zeus looked at him for a moment before turning around, indicating that he wasn’t entirely sold on the concept. He did it all the time when he wanted to say no to something.

“But don’t you think it’ll be extremely warm? All we need to see is if someone emerges from one of the nearby houses and drives away. We can use it if no one else does. What do you think?”

Zeus was intrigued when Jack suggested they check to see if anyone had used the car. He looked around the street to make sure no one saw them, then dashed to the alley opposite the car and sat, occasionally peering in.

Jack trailed behind him, and the two of them sat in the alley that evening, cuddled up in the warm clothes Jack had received while begging, keeping an eye out for anyone who came to the car. When Jack noticed that no one had approached the car after sunset, he tiptoed over to it with Zeus, slowly broke open the lock, and crept inside quietly, making sure no one noticed.

Before the sun rose the next morning, he and Zeus quietly exited the car and returned to the alley, just in case the car was going to be used by its owner.

Jack and Zeus met each other while Jack was wandering the streets in search of food | Photo: Unsplash

“Did anyone come here when I was gone, Zeus?” Jack asked, having returned after collecting leftovers that afternoon. When Zeus motioned his head in a no, Jack felt relieved that he’d finally found a place where they could take refuge from the cold weather.

However, one morning, as they were leaving the car, one of the neighbors named David spotted them. “What the hell?! How long have you freaks been staying there?!” he yelled loudly enough from his balcony to rouse the entire neighborhood.

Zeus began barking in response. “We didn’t want to disturb you, Sir. We’ll leave right now!” Jack said, trying to calm Zeus down, but the dog wouldn’t budge at all.

“Oh my God, why is there a dog barking outside my house at 5:00 a.m.?” Mrs. Hill, another neighbor, sneered as she walked out of her house. 

“Wait, why does the air around here smell like garbage meat?” she continued, casting a stern look at Jack and looking at him from head to toe. “Don’t tell me it’s because of you!” 

“I’m really sorry, ma’am,” Jack said, hiding his tears at everyone mocking him and was about to leave when an older woman named Mrs. White stopped him. “You people should all mind your own business! If that poor man wants to stay here, what’s your problem? It’s not like you guys own the car!”

David set the car on fire and tried to kill Zeus and Jack | Photo: Unsplash

“Why do you want such people in our neighborhood?” David snapped. “There are so many homeless people in the country; we can’t let them just disturb us like that! Just look at that dog and the way it’s barking!”

“David is right, Linda,” Mrs. Hill agreed. “Look at them. They stink, and God forbid if the kids start playing with that dog! I don’t want my children to get sick!” 

“Well, if you’re so bothered about your children, tell them to stay away from him and the dog,” Mrs. White intervened. “Is that clear? Now get back to your work!”

“Well, that man will surely regret it! I won’t let him stay here for long!” David sneered as he went inside. And he did as he’d promised.

The next day, while Jack and his dog were sleeping in the car, David approached them from behind, poured gasoline all over the car, and tossed a burning matchstick on it. Within seconds, the whole car was on fire! 

Jack woke up from the unbearable heat, startled by the sudden fire, and got out of the car, somehow saving Zeus. But darkness engulfed his eyes, and he fell unconscious.

A neighbor informed 911 of the whole situation | Photo: Pexels

Thankfully, Mrs. White saw the flames from her balcony and immediately dialed 911. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered Jack breathless and Zeus just circling around him and whining. Swiftly, the paramedics rushed Jack to the hospital, but he didn’t wake up until the next day. 

“Where am I, and where’s my dog?” he asked, dumbfounded as he opened his eyes and saw a doctor by his bedside fixing the drip.

“You’re in the hospital, sir. It’s a miracle that you survived,” the doctor said. “Thanks to Mrs. White, who called 911 on time, you’re here today. Your dog has been placed with her, and he’s safe. She might visit you soon.”

“I’m glad Zeus is safe. Thank you, doctor,” Jack said, relieved. 

An hour later, when Mrs. White visited Jack at the hospital, he thanked her for her help and looking after his dog. “I’m so thankful for your help, ma’am. Except for Zeus, I’ve never met anyone who’d been so kind to me,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears. 

The elderly woman said she lived alone, so she didn’t mind taking care of the dog. She had also bought soup for him, which he ate for dinner. 

Mrs. White bought soup for Jack | Photo: Unsplash

When Mrs. White left, Jack wrapped himself in his blanket and drifted off. Almost a month passed away like that. Every day, Mrs. White would pay a visit to Jack, look after him, and then return home to Zeus, who would be waiting for her right at the door.

When he noticed she was late in returning home sometimes, he’d run away from her house to the location where Jack had discovered the abandoned car and sat there waiting for her to return. Mrs. White felt terrible for the poor animal and warned him several times not to do it because the weather was cold and he would become ill, but Zeus refused to listen.

He sat in the freezing cold for several nights, waiting for her to come back with Jack’s news. When he saw her return, he’d jump on her or circle her until she told him how Jack was doing at the hospital. Mrs. White fell in love with Zeus and his adorable behavior and eventually adopted him while Jack was in the hospital.

Weeks later, when Jack was finally discharged from the hospital, Mrs. White offered him a place to stay in her home and asked her son, who lived abroad, to assist her in finding him work. Jack turned out to be a talented artist who could also do house repairs.

All thanks to Mrs. White and her son, Jack found a job in a small agency that managed people for house repairs. Jack became financially independent and was finally standing on his feet.

Six months later, he rented a small apartment with the money he’d saved and moved in with Zeus. They visit Mrs. White every day on weekends now, and Zeus has only grown fond of her with time. 

Zeus misses Jack | Photo: Unsplash

Meanwhile, David, who had committed the heinous crime of attempting to kill Zeus and Jack, was apprehended when footage of him attempting to set fire to the car was discovered from a security camera on the neighborhood’s street light. Thanks to Mrs. White again, she knew something was wrong with David from the moment he saw Jack and Zeus, and she’d secretly filed a complaint to the cops about it.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Animals want to be loved and pay you back with loyalty. The way Zeus always stayed with Jack, protected him, and mourned after his death, are examples of how much he adored Jack and missed him.
  • Learn to be kind; it costs nothing. Mrs. White helped Jack when everyone was against him, cared for him, and adopted his dog after he died, all without expecting anything in return.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about parents who kicked their pregnant daughter out in the cold and approached her for help years later.

This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to [email protected].

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