After accidentally making a message public on his Facebook page, a young Australian man has become an international inspiration of selfless kindness. What did he accidentally share?
He’s just adopted his pregnant, 17-year-old niece who’d been living on the streets.
So, 23-year-old Thomas Connolly, a university student and training professional athlete, became her legal guardian, and basically a father to her. The next week she gave birth to her baby boy, making him a granddad too. Pretty brave if you think about it.
He hadn’t seen her in 10 years, but after sending her a Facebook message to catch up, he found out: “She’d just turned 17, she was 32 weeks pregnant, homeless, no shoes, no phone, with less than a backpack full of clothes. Her baby was going to be taken when it arrived, as she’s had a lifetime of instability and bad history, most likely due to the traumatic childhood. The ‘boyfriend’ is in prison.”
He did what was totally natural to him, and immediately took her in to live with him. He went through the process of adopting her as a foster child so she could “get the chance in life she deserved,” he wrote on his post.
He doesn’t mind now that the private message he’d sent to friends and family went public, because what happened next was a tidal wave of kindness rippling out from his selfless actions, inspiring people all over Australia and the world to take care of people around them.
There is a tendency among society to “let the government take care of them” when people come across others struggling in life and needing help that would be too inconvenient to offer.
However, Thomas didn’t take his personal interests into consideration.
“I took her in, to make sure she’d keep the baby, stay off the streets, and have a better life. This was her only option.
“Life dealt Kiarna a poor hand, and she’s had to play it best she could. She’s spent more time on the streets than anywhere else, and knows the police better than she knows her own family. She could write a book on traumatic experiences… Nobody deserves the life she’s had.”
It hasn’t been easy, and he’s made many sacrifices, although he never talks about it that way. He seems so pleased to be able to help.
“I’ve spent the last few months working, moving houses, having meetings with different departments, signing forms, being assessed and monitored, chasing funds, setting up her bank accounts, buying baby stuff, furniture, going to hospital and doctor appointments, and getting her settled in.
“Glad to finally say she’s now living in a safe, stable, awesome house on the Sunshine Coast with a brand new bed, and brand new life… away from drugs, violence, and drama.”
He got her a kitten, and has taught her to drive, is getting her braces, and is helping her re-start the education she couldn’t get when she was a teenager. Generally sorting her out and setting her up to one day be independent and stable.
“All she wants is for him (her baby) to have a better life than she’s had,” writes Thomas.
What’s the philosophy that drives him? “Family comes first,” and to “pay it forward.”
“When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you.. It means no one gets left behind or forgotten. I’ve had my family pull my head out of the gutter before… It was time to pay it forward.”
He recently updated his Facebook friends and followers, saying he doesn’t know why his post went viral. “It was family helping family. That should always be a standard thing. Since then, we’ve had so many random acts of kindness from people we don’t even know.”
And that’s why, Thomas—because you reminded people WHY it matters to be kind and do the right thing. We want to see how being kind can bring someone back to life and out of suffering. We want to know that being kind is worth it. That’s why. So thank you, Thomas.