It was like a Christmas movie: a Good Samaritan helping a homeless man in need, providing him with shelter, and the community coming together to help as well. But it wasn’t just a movie, last Christmas it was real, when Rodney Prince paid for a two-night stay at the Western Motel for David Jackson. After Prince spoke about it on Facebook, Jackson, who is homeless and cleans car windows for a living, received an outpouring of support, which kept him warm at the Western Motel until day.
“David and I met either in the Winn Dixie parking lot or in the Chinese restaurant parking lot…I would say about two years ago,” Prince shared. “David always had such a lovely caring spirit about him, a smile on his face. He’s not complaining, just his attitude makes it very easy to give him a $10 bill, a $20 bill .
Around Thanksgiving last year, Jackson asked Prince if he could get him a Bible, specifically one that had Bible stories for children, so Jackson could teach them to children. After obtaining the Bible, it was not until around December 20 that Prince would have the opportunity to give it to Jackson. As they spoke, it appeared that the blankets Jackson usually sleeps on had been strewn about and soaked in a downpour.
“I put my blankets on when it starts to rain, or first thing in the morning when I wake up before the sun, if it’s raining, I’ll go ahead and put my blankets in my bag,” said Jackson. “I came back, it was pouring rain. I was just going to walk by and check my things, but they were taken out of the bag, they had been laid out to be soaked.
As the temperature approaches freezing that day, Prince decides to put him up for two nights at the Western Motel.
“I never had anyone do that to me there,” Jackson said. “It was like, ‘Wow man, this is a beautiful little world.’ Sometimes you just have to watch, stop complaining, watch and see what people are doing for you.
After seeing Prince’s Facebook post, community members not only continued to pay for Jackson’s hotel room, but began sending him new clothes and other essentials.
However, the hotel room was merely meant to be a short-term fix, as Prince ultimately wants to provide Jackson with long-term housing; and not just Jackson either.
“I personally would like to see Bainbridge have a men’s center, to help men who are struggling, homeless or in other similar difficult situations,” Prince said.
“There’s a lot of us out there, a lot of us out there, white and black, Mexican, a bunch of them,” Jackson said.
“Bainbridge has several women’s centers that are doing a lot to help…but based on my research, I couldn’t find any men’s centers anywhere,” Prince said. “I think some organizations have considered a center for men, but it’s a question of funding. To jump on a center for men would require quite substantial donations, in order to have a facility for these men to have a place to sleep at night.
For those looking to support Jackson, room charges can be paid at the Western Motel front desk, or they can be reached at 229-248-8868.