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Twist of fate changes the life of an Aurora man struggling with Parkinson's, homelessness

Craig Pitts
Posted at 6:58 AM, Aug 20, 2021

AURORA, Colo. — Craig Pitts and his dog, Ninja, have been living off and on in a Ford F-150 for about eight years. Pitts has Parkinson's disease. It's evident as he holds a sign asking for help at the Arapahoe Crossings shopping center in Aurora.

"I'm just flying the sign," Pitts said. "I'm not proud about it."

On a random weekend, there was a shift in fate for Craig. It started when Chandra Proch passed Craig in the parking lot.

"I just had this gut feeling that I had to turn around and go help him," Proch said. "We ran over to McDonald's. I think I ordered everything on the breakfast menu times two."

As Chandra was leaving, she looked in her rearview mirror.

"He's kneeling down and giving thanks and feeding the dog and that just made me start crying," Proch said.

She decided she needed to do more. She went home and posted something on Nextdoor telling the story of her encounter with Craig and Ninja. She couldn't believe what happened next.

"Within 10 minutes people were posting that they had seen him too," Proch said. "They were compelled to stop too."

The comments kept pouring in.

Janet Kaminski read the post and wanted to meet Craig and Ninja herself.

"We just sat and talked," she said. "He changed me the minute I met him."

Kaminski decided she would help pay for Craig and Ninja to stay in a hotel.

"If we look past where they've been and we see the value on a human being and the worth of his life, it really can change all of us," Kaminski said in tears.

So much more happened too.

Someone made a bed for Ninja to sleep on. More than $13,000 was raised on a GoFundMe account.

"I just thank God for what has happened to me," Craig said in tears. "It's so hard for me to believe that someone would do that for another person."

In this case, it's not about changing the world. Instead, it's about stopping for one.

"When you become part of something bigger than yourself, it's life-changing," Kaminski said. "It started a consuming fire of kindness and love that I pray never stops."