Unlikely friendship forms on city’s far east side: ‘A little bit of kindness goes a long way’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An unlikely friendship is sparking a conversation on the city’s far east side.

Kimberly Gough has lived on the streets for six months--a time in her life where every penny counts. Instead of buying life’s essentials, she said making others smile is more important.

“The flowers they really love,” said Gough. “A little bit of kindness goes a long way.”

Montice Smith first saw Gough when he was leaving the store. He stopped to give her a dollar or two, but in return he received a flower. He didn't expect it.

“She gave me a flower and I was like, are you serious? This is like serious right now,” said Smith.

Smith and Gough agree the exchange changed both their lives. This pair is hoping to spread their message of kindness in a neighborhood accustomed to violence.

“I didn’t realize that a simple flower can make his day, while he gave me a dollar which got me a cup of coffee,” said Gough.

“Once I got home I started to realize she has nothing and she’s still giving. Even the money that she makes she’s using it to make these items. I just loved it. It touched me, it was heartfelt," Smith added.

Smith now checks up on Gough almost daily.  He brings her items, like a blanket or shampoo. He wants to show kindness comes in many forms around Indy.

“We used to just be helpful. It was a helpful city, at one point. Now, we just drive past homeless people, don’t look at them, try to look past them, and that’s not how we should be,” said Smith, “We should give to our fellow Hoosiers to help them out because in the end it’s like, it’s helping out Indianapolis as a whole.”

Gough says she’s not asking for donations. She just wants to break through the negativity.

“I’ve had a kid give me the middle finger,” said Gough, “An elderly lady cussed me out for trying to give her a cross. That’s what I get every time I come out.”

They hope their unique friendship will inspire others to slow down and help.

“Just stop,” said Smith, “If you see someone homeless or someone who’s in need, just stop and lend a helping hand. It takes nothing at times. She’s thanking me, but I’m thanking her.”

The friendship inspired Smith to create a nonprofit organization called HOPE, which stands for "Helping Out Public Environments."  His mission to get more people connected with the homeless around Indianapolis. He's still in the works of  getting this non-profit project up and running.

“When I’m down and depressed and feel alone, I think of her. I think of her story. This lady that’s out there still giving when she has nothing,” said Smith.

If you’re interested in helping Smith with his nonprofit, you can give him a call at (317) 981-0704 or reach him by email at smithmontice93@gmail.com.

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