Pass It On: Landscaper hit by crime gets a new beginning

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Meet Homer Jones, the landscaper left without tools to provide for his family all because of some heartless thieves.

We first told you about Homer Jones Monday night after someone broke into his storage unit on Winchester near Perkins Monday morning.

A cut padlock opened the door to his landscaping equipment and shut the door on a business that he'd built from the ground up.

From the moment our story aired, the phone calls and emails from generous Southerners started pouring in to our newsroom.

That's right, the Mid-South wanted to step up in a big way and help Homer Jones.

"That's how I take care of my family. I feed three others besides myself," Jones told WREG's Jessica Gertler.

His honesty and hard work ethic touched the hearts of our viewers.

"I am a convicted felon for things I did when I was younger, so it's hard for me to find a job. Instead of me constantly looking for a job and going without, I created a job for myself."

It's that determination that prompted action.

It started with a phone call from a complete stranger.

"This guy right here. I don't know anything about him, and I've never seen him in my life. He called me and told me to meet him at Home Depot. I thought it was a joke," Jones said. "He practically told me to just pick out what I need."

Pat Pope saw Homer's story and knew she needed to help, so she reached out to Pass It On.

"He seemed like such a hard worker who was trying to do the right thing and not depend on someone else to take care of his business. I just thought he needs someone to give him a hand at this point," Pope said.

It's time to pass along the cash.

We are passing along $300 from WREG, $300 from our anonymous donor in Nesbit, Mississippi and an additional $400 from another anonymous donor. That brings the total to $1,000.

But that's not it.

Pope handed over a check for $1,000, bringing the total to $2,000.

"We felt the Lord led us to do that," she said.

Just a few minutes later, Jones arrived at WREG.

He thinks Jessica Gertler is doing a follow up story.

Pat Pope and I made our move. She began explaining why she dropped in.

"My name is Pat Pope, and we saw your story on the news last night. My husband and I were very touched. We felt like you had been working so hard and are doing a great job trying to raise your family that we wanted to contact Tim to see if we could 'Pass It On.’”

She counted out the $1,000 cash and handed over her check.

"My husband and I would like to add $1,000 to that for you."

Jones was overwhelmed.

"You don't know how much I needed that ma’am," he said.

"We've got some neighbors that also have some used equipment that they want to give you," Pope said.

So how does Jones feel?

"It just makes me feel wonderful. It just seems like there's not these type of people out here anymore."

Well, let's meet another one of these people, Carla Porter.

She saw last night's story as well and she wanted to help.

"Here's $200. I really don't have much, but I did what I could."

Jones may have lost his lawn equipment, but he's gained the love of some wonderful News Channel 3 viewers.