HOUSTON, Tx. – Rainn Sheppard leaped into her mom’s arms moments before competing in the 3,000 meter race at the Junior Olympics.
Mom Tonia Handy made it to the track just in time to see her daughter win gold, all thanks to a kind stranger who wanted to help the single mom.
Handy and her three daughters, 10-year-old Rainn, 11-year-old Tai and 8-year-old Brooke all live in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn, New York. All four of them share one bedroom.
The Associated Press reported that the sisters started competing in track in January 2015.
“Every time they get on the track they amaze us,” coach Jean Bell told WCBS.
“They never ran before. I knew they liked to jump around and rip about crazy like kids, but that’s all they had room to do,” said Hardy.
All three made it to the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston. When they got the good news, their coach and a GoFundMe campaign raised enough money to fly the girls to Texas, but their mother couldn’t afford the trip.
When a man named Ken Smaltz, Jr. heard the family’s story, he reached out and paid for Handy’s flight.
“It just feels nice to help someone,” Smaltz told the AP. He said he didn’t expect the story to go public.
The girls and their mother have been homeless for almost two years. Handy has a job, but doesn’t make enough to support her family.