A dad walks his daughter to school every day but when school administrators looked a little closer at the pair, there is something amiss about his trek and child.
Then, the girl’s elementary school called police who tracked the father down to his truck and were taken aback by what they found inside.
When 41-year-old James Schweikhard and his ten-year-old daughter left Oklahoma for Lakewood in Denver, Colorado, they hoped to settle in quickly.
The two have been living in Colorado since August when James started taking his daughter to school.
He tried everything he could to make sure she arrived on time.
But life wasn’t doing them any favors lately and they missed several school bells. He didn’t think it was that bad, just an hour here and there. The sun was barely breaking the horizon when James Schweikhard finally pulled off the road and turned off the ignition.
The trek had been long and filled with emotional ups and downs, but he and his 10-year-old daughter, Maddy, had finally made it. He looked back at their mound of belongings.
Every inch of the old SUV was packed with bags, boxes, and anything else they could cram into the vehicle.
It wasn’t the best way to relocate, but there was nothing he could do about it. All he could do was focus on the next important step. However, at that moment, he had no idea what the next step would really lead to.
However, nothing was more important than his daughter’s future and happiness. Life had been rough for both of them. But this new city was a new start, and James would do everything he could to be the best father possible. But, he couldn’t get her there on time.
After several weeks of going to and from campus, administrators started to worry about what was going on behind the scenes with the child. They tracked her father down to his truck. And were shocked by what they found. So they called the cops.
Police arrived on the scene and it didn’t take long to realize what was going on.
James returned to his parked truck and found it surrounded by Lakewood police who were searching inside.
“I saw them looking at my truck, I said, ‘Officers, what is going on?’” James said. “[He] said ‘We’re trying to help you.’ I said ‘Ok, I can accept that.’” James added that it was an odd occurrence since he’s not used to getting help from cops.
The homeless family was just trying to survive, but just when things were starting to look up, James’ truck broke down. Leaving Oklahoma was the only option. It wasn’t safe to live there anymore.
But the little money they had went to survival. There was no way James could afford the apartment he and his daughter so desperately wanted. He had been driving his daughter to school, and it became obvious to campus personnel that the vehicle was more than a ride, it was also their home. They alerted local authorities out of concern for the young student who they suspected was living out of a vehicle.
According to 9 News:
Once the vehicle became inoperable, James had no choice but to walk the girl to and from school each day, so she didn’t miss out on her education. Unfortunately, not having reliable transportation also cost him his job.
James watched in awe as, over the next few weeks, Officer Butler rounded up the community to help them.
They found him a decent job and even helped with the paperwork to get into a rental home in a nice neighborhood. But that wasn’t all.
A tow truck and mechanic company paid for the SUV repairs for free.
People from all over donated clothes, food, furniture, and other vital supplies to help get them started. The two of them would have a real roof over their heads and real beds to sleep in. The struggling dad couldn’t believe it.
Even if it was a “hand up not a handout”, even if they said, “he had already done most of the hard work getting his life together”, the gesture was still enough to bring him and his girl to tears.
Life had been so hard, and people had been so cold in the past, he had nearly lost all hope in humanity.
It wasn’t just a house. James and his girl had something they didn’t think was possible.
They had a home, a caring community, authority figures who really cared, and the helping hand that would let them finally have the future they dreamed of.