A New Brunswick couple say they’re taking a look at life loads in another way since they stopped to assist a person on the aspect of the Trans-Canada Highway earlier this month.
Mike and Caroline Trueman have been driving again to their house in Sussex from Fredericton on Feb. 6 once they noticed what they thought was a pile of rubbish alongside the highway in Jemseg, about 50 kilometres east of the capital.
“I was thinking to myself, why would somebody throw their garbage out there, that’s pathetic,” stated Mike Trueman. “As I got closer to it and actually went by, I noticed a guitar case laying on the ground, and then it dawned on me: that’s not garbage, that’s a person.”
The Truemans circled again and located 50-year-old Ernie Jesso wrapped in a blanket and leaning in opposition to a guardrail.
Jesso had been strolling from Oromocto again to his makeshift house within the woods off Route 10 close to Long Creek, a journey of almost 85 km.
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He instructed the Truemans he’d began strolling the day earlier than and slept within the woods close to the highway in a single day. But throughout his travels, his ft had gotten moist and began to freeze close to the midway level of his stroll house.
Jesso stated he’d usually hitchhike, however that is come to an finish with COVID-19.
To the Truemans, it was apparent Jesso wanted assist.
‘He was ecstatic’
They bought him within the truck to heat him up. Caroline gave him what meals they’d with them — a muffin — after which they provided to drive him the remainder of the 45 km to his house.
“When this man got out of the truck, he was happy as happy could be,” Mike stated. “He was ecstatic to be home.”
Jesso has been dwelling in a journey trailer for the final yr, and has added to it with felled bushes, scrap wooden and no matter he is been in a position to discover.
He makes use of an previous wooden furnace for warmth and, on event, a small generator. Inside his makeshift house, the 34-year veteran of the Canadian army retains his accolades from his excursions in Bosnia and Afghanistan, together with a number of household images. He stated he suffers from PTSD however is not in search of therapy.
Skipper, a small, affectionate black cat, is Jesso’s solely companion within the woods.
“I don’t know how to describe what he lives in,” Mike stated. “I just don’t have the words for it.”
‘He by no means requested us for a nickel’
The Truemans tried to provide Jesso extra assist however stated he would not take it.
“He never asked us for a nickel,” Mike stated. “But I think as a vet we owe it to him that he lives a better life.”
Mike stated he has returned a number of instances to examine in on his new pal, bringing him meals and some requirements.
After Mike posted what occurred on social media, folks from throughout Canada, together with different veterans, have been asking how they may help. Some have ventured out to deliver Jesso stews, greens and moosemeat steaks.
“I was taught by my great father and mother never look a gift horse in the mouth — never,” stated Jesso.
He’s clear that he is not in search of charity, however he is grateful for the kindness. He stated he additionally goes out of his method to share something that is donated.
“I always tell [people], if I can’t use it, if I have no need for it, I will find somebody else that [does],” stated Jesso.
The Truemans stated the easy act of serving to somebody in want has changed how they have a look at their personal lives.
“What I really stopped doing was complaining about, you know, wanting a bigger house, better truck, more money,” Mike stated.
“This guy had nothing, and he was happy. And I said to my wife, ‘I got more out of [this encounter] than he did.'”