Lucy Ashen, a 39-year-old mother of three children, had been living in her apartment in London for 21 years. She knew her neighbor, an elderly woman, only by sight. She knew that the old woman has no one that takes care of her.
The neighbor was very eccentric and lived in her small one-bedroom apartment all by herself. She didn't trust the people in her apartment building and never let anyone see her apartment.
Lucy also knew that she was dealing with psychical problems. She thought the elderly woman might need help that she was unable to ask for.
Lucy tried to win over her neighbor's trust several times. But it took years before she was comfortable enough with Lucy to open her door at last and let her into her apartment.
What Lucy saw was much worse than she had feared.
The floor was covered in dirt and filth. Furniture and clothing were tattered and full of holes.
There was almost nothing to eat in the kitchen.
The old woman hadn't even bathed for over 13 years and slept on a dirty mattress on the floor.
Lucy had seen enough. With the help of her 14-year-old daughter, she set about the mammoth task of cleaning up the apartment. They threw away all the furniture and cleaned for a total of 60 hours until the rooms were acceptably clean.
Since they didn't have much to give away, she turned to Facebook to ask for donations of food, clothing, furniture, and a list of other items.
Lucy could hardly believe what happened next. The people who read the call for help overwhelmed her elderly neighbor with aid and generosity. Within 24 hours, she had 80% of the items on her list.
Very soon the woman had a good bed with clean sheets, nice furniture, beautiful new clothes, three meals a day, and above all else, friends.
Lucy and her new friend are now close neighbors.
How nice to see that so many people reacted with warmth and support when someone they didn't know needed help.