Life isn’t merely composed of black and white regions; it also comprises grey spots that people might sometimes overlook. They say life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans, which makes one wonder if we have any control over our experiences, situations, and circumstances.
The truth is that the universe has its way of surprising us. While we may not have much say in what we go through, we can decide how we react to things. Something similar occurred in today’s story, where fate brought two strangers together most unexpectedly.
Dena Walker Pauly worked as a detective in the Lawrenceville Police Department, Georgia. In 2017, she had an unusual encounter with a stranger — one that went on to alter her life completely. She was dispatched to a local pawn shop, where she met an elderly man, Bob.
Instead, what they shared was deeper and stronger than blood — a heart-to-heart connection that would forever keep them together.
When the police officer saw that the shop employees could not help Bob, she didn’t hesitate to step forward. Initially, Pauly was unsure how to assist the older man, but she could tell he needed immediate help and support. So, she offered to drop him at his home.
However, Officer Pauly was utterly shocked and speechless when she witnessed Bob’s living conditions. Something tugged at her heartstrings when she learned details about his life. The senior citizen had been on his own since he was a kid and had no known family or relatives.
He had spent a large part of his life amid homelessness and deplorable living conditions, and a stroke had left him unable to speak. Bob’s life was a chain of tragedy, pain, and trauma, lined with poverty and loneliness.
Moved by the older man’s story, the Lawrenceville cop decided to help him in the best way possible. She taught him basic tasks, like throwing litter in the garbage can rather than on the floor. Pauly also ensured Bob didn’t starve by bringing him food and regularly cleaning his tiny apartment.
But that wasn’t all. Detective Pauly was determined to help turn things around for Bob. Her efforts paid off, and ultimately, she received the Power of Attorney for his medical care.
In 2019, Bob’s health began declining, and he was admitted to the hospital in May. In July of the same year, Pauly made the heartbreaking decision of sending him into hospice care. Her dear friend, Shannon Volkadov, narrated the touching story in a Facebook post. She wrote:
“[Pauly] held [Bob’s] hand and told him many times that she loved him. It’s quite possible she’s the first person to ever utter those words to this poor man.”
Volkodav and Pauly were beside Bob in his final hours on earth. As the two friends held the elderly man’s hands and prayed for him, they told him that he had people who deeply loved and cared about him.
Before he took his last breath, Volkodav said she told Bob that he had changed Pauly’s life forever and she would never forget him. Knowing how much he meant to her friend, Volkodav contacted a funeral home — most likely for cremation services — so Pauly could keep Bob with her after he was gone.
Waving goodbye to Bob was painstakingly difficult for Officer Pauly, and Volkodav could reciprocate her friend’s feelings. She requested people to keep Bob and Pauly in their prayers. Vokodav expressed that she couldn’t wait for the older man to rejoice in the heavens because he deserved it.
While Bob lay in his bed looking fragile, Pauly sat with him and held his hand, telling him he wasn’t alone. At first glance, it appeared like a loving granddaughter was comforting her beloved granddad, but the pair shared no blood ties.