Just in time for the holidays, here's a sad story with no obvious bad guys. Other than a crappy economy.
Anything is better than this. Including living in a small, unheated box.
Dan and Karen Christensen moved to Kennewick last year from Provo, Utah in search of work. Dan, 51, found a job at a food-processing plant. But the work was seasonal, and he got laid off in the spring. Since then, he, Karen and their two cats have been living in a 10-by-12 foot storage unit that they rented for $50 a month.
Mitch Brownsworth, the man who runs the storage facility, knew he was breaking the law by letting the Christensens live there. But being a decent guy, he turned a blind eye. Despite the fact that the space heater Dan and Karen used to keep warm was costing him $150 a month extra on his electricity bill.Brownsworth hoped he wouldn't have to put Dan and Karen out on the streets until the worst of the cold weather had passed. But as the Tri-City Herald reports, he didn't get his wish: Fire officials served him with an eviction notice last Thursday.
It's hard to fault anybody in this scenario. The fireman are just doing their job. Even though they probably take no pride in kicking an older couple out of makeshift shelter, they've gotta do what they can to prevent disaster.
Brownsworth went above and beyond the call of duty. Incurring his own financial hit in an effort to keep a nice family from freezing to death.
The Christensens made due in a unit like this for six months.
Meanwhile, the Christensens are sitting on the bottom rung of the charity case ladder. Dan hasn't worked enough hours to qualify for unemployment. And because they don't have kids, all they can get are food stamps.
The Christensens did have one option other than the storage facility. A local mission gave them shelter. But they chose to leave because they weren't allowed to sleep in the same room.
Maybe someone could make the case that that was a foolish move. But it's really hard to knock two people who only have each other to lean on for not wanting to be split up.
"We've been married 21 years," Dan told the Herald. "We don't want to be separated."
The story of the Christensens cut off at a local McDonald's. Dan had $8 in his pocket. And neither he nor Karen knew where they were going to stay that night. But there is hope for a happy ending.
Because after reaching out to a local TV station, Brownsworth says the Christensens have a Kennewick-area family were nice enough to let the Christensens stay in their home.
See? No bad guys to be found in this one.