HOUSTON – Life has gotten "surreal" for Ginger Jones Sprouse in the past few weeks as the story of how her life entwined with a local homeless man’s has hit the public’s radar.
Sprouse said she, Victor, and her family can’t go out without being recognized.
“Victor knows (he’s famous), and he thinks it’s so cool,” Sprouse said.
Sprouse said Victor likes asking people, “What’s your name? How do you know me?”
Victor, the formerly homeless man who stood at the corner of El Camino Real and Nasa Road 1 in Clear Lake, is now living with Sprouse and her family. It’s a new life for him, as well as for Sprouse and her family.
“(The fame is) not too bad, as long as we can point back to Victor,” Sprouse said. “As long as we can see him healthy and smiling, that means everything to us.”
But it’s not been easy journey, according to Sprouse. “It’s hard when you move someone into your family. Taking him to appointments. Taking him to work. … But (I tell Victor), I’m committed to you and I love you, and you’re like one of my children.”
What has led Sprouse to this point is what she said is a decision to live her life with love and compassion for other people.
She explained that five years ago, her husband told her she didn’t have a shred of compassion in her body. So she decided to change that, and as she described, “walk it out” in her life.
And she did -- she walked right up to Victor, and welcomed him into her life without reservation.
“He wasn’t well,” Sprouse said. “He was mentally ill. He was definitely in a bad place. … He didn’t carry on a conversation. Just what he said was so sweet. ‘I’m good. I’m good.’ He has never asked me to do something or give him something. … He’s the most selfless person. It’s easy to be nice to someone who is like that. A lot of it has to do with the kind of person he is.”
But beyond the day-to-day of living -- what is next for Victor?
Sprouse said that Victor will always have a place with her and her family, but she hopes that he’ll eventually be able to see a life for himself.
“My hope is for him to find a place to work and stay -- a kind of group home setting,” Sprouse said. “I want what’s best for him. I want him to have a life that he dreams of, not the life I dream for him.”
However, building a life from nothing has many challenges. Obtaining identification without any kind of identification for Victor was a huge challenge for Sprouse.
“If I am a college-educated, person of means with a house and a car and a cell phone, (and I’m having issues with the system), how in the world can a person who has nothing navigate that?” Sprouse said. “We are over-resourced, and it’s under-utilized because a person can’t access it. If I hadn’t held his hand, he would have never been able to access it. I’m baffled at how people are expected to access it.”
Beyond the local and national media attention, Sprouse is ready for life to turn more routine. “I hope normal life sets in,” Sprouse said, “and (Victor) can have just a regular, content, easy life knowing he is welcome.”
Sprouse said she looks forward to introducing Victor to life skills like washing dishes and clothes, regularly bathing, and keeping his room clean.
If you would like to help Victor, go to his GoFundMe page. The money, Sprouse said, is being held in a managed trust for Victor. Sprouse said Victor’s current needs are being covered in her household expenses. Victor is not receiving government benefits as of this writing, according to Sprouse.
Victor’s mother -- the person he was waiting for at the corner for so long -- lives in the area, according to Sprouse, and has been in contact with Victor after family found her on Facebook.