Man Captures Images of Homeless People and Recognizes Mom He Lost 30 Years Ago in One of Them — Story of the Day
A photographer tracked down his long-lost mother through the photographs he had taken and discovered the heartbreaking reason for her homelessness.
Curtis Floyd adored photography ever since he was a child. His father Dylan maintained a tiny studio where he generally spent time after classes, and when he saw his father use the camera, he always dreamed of the day he'd own one as a professional photographer.
And so, after completing high school, he enrolled himself in a photography course at the state university and began interning with a firm to gain valuable experience.
By the time he graduated from university, he had his sights set on winning an annual international competition that took portfolios from undergraduate learners all around the world, providing the winner the opportunity to collaborate with one of the world's top photographers.
Curtis intended to complete a project dedicated to the homeless in which he could express the atrocities and sufferings of the underprivileged through the enchantment of his lens.
So, for almost ten years, he regularly toured places, sometimes random streets, sometimes dirty alleys or broken down and secluded areas, and anywhere else he felt he could capture a glimpse into the life of the underprivileged.
On a typical evening, he returned home from a shoot and was sorting the photos when a particular picture grabbed his attention. It depicted a woman sleeping on the streets beside a bookstore, wrapped in a brown blanket, with her feet partially covered by the blanket and her face partially unveiled.
There is sometimes more to what the eyes can see.
Curtis examined the image closely, and he felt as if he'd seen the woman before. Suddenly, it hit him! He dashed to his closet, where he'd stashed the images of his mother he'd stolen from his father, and began comparing the two. When he looked closely at the homeless woman's picture, his jaw dropped to the floor.
"Mom! It's you! I - I can't believe this. I found you!" he said to himself, tears welling up in his eyes.
Curtis was raised by Dylan alone. When he was a baby, his mother had abandoned them – or so his father had told him. "She abandoned you and never returned, Curtis! She was only concerned about herself and had no regard for you or me!"
"But, dad, why didn't you try to find her? How come you didn't ask her why she left us?" Curtis questioned, perplexed.
"What was there to ask, boy? Charlotte, your 'caring mother,' left you in my arms and walked out the door, swearing never to return. Do you still believe I should have looked for her? Curtis, forget about her! She doesn't deserve you or me!" his father declared before walking away.
But Curtis had a different impression. He'd always had the nagging sensation that there was more to his mother's story that his father wasn't aware of, and so he always desired to see his mother at least once and ask her what had prompted her to leave them. So one day, he stole her photographs from Dylan's closet and started searching for her on Facebook.
Unfortunately, the search did not yield any results, and Curtis gave up, believing he would never see her again. But today changes that.
He quickly left his house for the location where he'd taken the photograph, but there was no one there. He searched the adjacent alleys and asked the local shops whether they'd seen Charlotte, but no one knew anything about her.
He returned home, disappointed that he didn't find her that evening, but he refused to give up. He returned to the same location the next day and the next until Charlotte showed up after a few days.
Without further ado, Curtis decided to approach her. "Hello. My name is Curtis - Curtis Floyd. Would you like to join me for a quick lunch?" he asked, fighting back his tears.
Charlotte raised her head and fixed her gaze on his for a few moments. Suddenly, tears streamed down her cheeks. "I apologize, dear. I have to leave. I'm afraid I won't be able to join you for lunch." She hurriedly grabbed her belongings and began to leave, but Curtis stopped her.
"I know you recognized me, mom. I look like dad, don't I?" he asked, his voice trembling.
Charlotte burst into tears at that point. "You should never come back here, Curtis. Go away! Please! I don't deserve you or your generosity," she sobbed.
"What are you doing here, Mom? What happened? And why did you abandon us? There are so many questions I've always wanted to ask you, and today, when I finally have the opportunity, I'm not going away empty-handed!"
"What do I even tell you, Curtis?" the older woman moaned. "I'm to blame for everything! I abandoned you and never looked back. I was a terrible, terrible mother!"
"But why, mom? Why did you leave dad and me? I know you must have had a reason, mom. Tell me, what happened?"
"Because I'm a coward!" she said, bursting into tears again. "I'm sorry for what I did, Curtis, but I didn't have a choice. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I was just 16 years old. My parents were opposed to such an early pregnancy and forced me to terminate it, but I wanted you, Curtis, so I gave birth. I moved out of my parents' house and into Dylan's. And then I discovered that I was suffering from postnatal depression.
"I felt nothing every time I saw you. No love. No affection. I hated that I couldn't love my baby. I kept thinking that there was nothing left in my life, so I left you with Dylan one day and walked away to my parents' house. But I wasn't happy there either, and I ran away one night. I didn't want to do anything after that, so I started begging on the streets and counting my days. I suppose there was a reason God didn't call me home sooner... I'm sorry for what I did Curtis! I'm sorry!" she managed to end, breaking down in tears.
Curtis' eyes had welled up when he learned the truth, not because his mother had left him, but because he was right that there was a reason why she took the huge step.
"Look at me, Mom. It wasn't your fault, okay," he said as he hugged her. "I knew you wouldn't abandon me like that. You're coming home with me, mom. We're going to tell Dad why you abandoned us. He has no idea why, and he has made assumptions that he should not have made."
"Oh, Curtis! I don't deserve you… I don't…."
"You do, mom! You deserve to live happily ever after, just like everyone else, and I will make it happen."
Curtis drove Charlotte home, called Dylan, and informed him about everything. Dylan was taken aback when he discovered Charlotte was living on the streets! He still couldn't forgive her for abandoning them, but when he saw Curtis' sentiments and how happy he was to see his mother again, he decided to set his differences aside and welcome her back.
Fast forward 10 years since that day, Curtis is a happily married man with two beautiful daughters who have adoring grandparents in Charlotte and Dylan.
Also, the photography competition which Curtis had been preparing for for years had declared him a winner a few months after he reunited with Charlotte.
"Happiness and Miracles in Adversity" was the title of his project for the competition. It attracted international attention after he described how his photography assisted him in reuniting with his long-lost mother. Now, he has his own art gallery and everything he ever wanted, including a big, happy family.
What can we learn from this story?
- Miracles happen. Curtis had given up hope that he'd reunite with his mother, but it happened.
- There is sometimes more to what the eyes can see. Curtis always had a feeling there was more to Charlotte's story than his father believed, and he was right.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a man who performs CPR on a homeless woman and wakes up as a millionaire two days 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@example.com.