News Good News Aussie acts of kindness that went under the radar in 2019
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Aussie acts of kindness that went under the radar in 2019

Polio sufferer Trevor Cullin receives frequent support from Debe Thomas (back) and Karen Davies. Photo: Supplied
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Not only did the stories below not make headlines this year but some of the Australians involved would much prefer to keep them a secret.

Why then are we giving you the low-down on what happened?

When everyday people were asked to share their most generous act of 2019, it seemed help usually came from those who could do with the help themselves.

Imagine this: A young mum pushing a pram that’s carrying her one-year-old son arrives at your doorstep.

She just got kicked out of home and only has the clothes on her back.

She is also a drug addict.

Before you ask yourself: What would I do? Consider this.

Your youngest daughter has a genetic disorder and you’re her full-time carer. You also have interim custody of your youngest granddaughter and are going for custody of your second youngest grandson.

Instead of slamming her door shut, Kerie (surname withheld) welcomed Jessica (name changed) in.

“I was married to an alcoholic and he was also into drugs. He drugged me while I was pregnant with our first child,” Kerie told The New Daily.

Kerie was shocked to see the single mum at her door. Photo: Supplied

She kept Jessica company while her son raided their pantry for “whatever she needed”, filling two shopping bags to the brim.

The 52-year-old didn’t hold back when confronting the single mum about her drug habit.

“What would happen if you lost him (her son) completely?’ she asked, to which Jessica responded, “I’d kill myself”.

Kerie pleaded with Jessica. “Make him your reason to get clean. Make him your reason for living.”

Kerie cared for Jessica’s baby while she briefly returned home to collect the rest of her belongings.

Next. You’re homeless, five months pregnant and only have $50 to spare. An elderly man catches your eye. He too is desperate for money.

Nikki became homeless just two months ago. Photo: Christiane Barro

As Nikki (last name withheld) was explaining her situation, her eyes filled with tears.

When asked about her most generous act this year, she recalled seeing a homeless man in his 70s who was having a bad day.

“You can just tell by the look on somebody’s face,” she said.

Despite not knowing where her next dollar would come from, the 42-year-old Melbourne woman gave the man $20.

“That made his day so it was worth it,” Nikki said.

“I’d hate to be that old on the street and people just walk past me.”

Now, you have your hands full caring for your 72-year-old dementia-suffering husband who has become completely immobile.

You later discover an old school friend is having a hard time coping with his extremely limited mobility due to post-polio syndrome and desperately needs a helping hand.

Not only can’t Trevor Cullen, 61, leave his home without assistance, but he struggles to have a shower and even get to the toilet on his own.

Debe Thomas has been helping Mr Cullen apply to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She has also started that process for herself, suffering from osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Ms Thomas consistently ensures Mr Cullen gets the help he needs. Photo: Supplied

Despite her chronic conditions, Ms Thomas drives Mr Cullen to and from doctors appointments and even visits the local food bank once every fortnight to collect groceries for him.

She also connects him to home-cleaning services and is enquiring about disability-friendly homes on his behalf.

On top of everything, she keeps his mental health a priority.

“I found out that he hasn’t even been hugged in 40 years. So now we make it a habit,” Ms Thomas said.

Next. While working on a construction site, you notice an elderly woman who is struggling in the heat. She looks exhausted and could do with a refresher.

After a day’s labour in “stinking hot” weather, Melbourne builder Maarty Ploeg, 50, walked to a nearby IGA and bought the woman an ice-cream.

“She was just so happy. Her smile was worth it all,” he said.

It was simply the “right thing to do”, Mr Ploeg said. Photo: Christiane Barro

Finally, you’re a stay-at-home mum and want to get back into the workforce.

A brief google search brings up the State Emergency Service (SES).

You know they need more volunteers but the idea of taking part in missing person searches or hazardous tree removals and other emergency response jobs seem daunting.

This was Lisa May’s fifth year volunteering for Victoria’s SES. She was stumped for choice when asked about her nicest deed, as she puts in about 30 hours every week.

Ms May recalled speaking to a distressed elderly woman whose cat was trapped in her roof.

Ms May (right) has attended to 350 jobs since joining the SES. Photo: Supplied

She got the impression that the cat was “pretty much all she had” so her rescue team “went above and beyond” to retrieve it.

“She was over the moon with that and she actually ended up writing a letter of thank you to the unit,” Ms May said.