HOUSTON – The Martinez family’s dreams were about to come true.
They packed up everything they owned in a U-Haul and drove 2,000 miles from San Jose, California to Houston, Texas. It was time for a fresh start.
Julio Martinez grew up in New York and Sarah Martinez in the Bay area. They met on a dating app, he eventually moved to California and they started their family.
But over time, even though Julio Martinez made enough money to provide for the family, the extraordinary cost of living in northern California proved overwhelming. They decided to start over in Texas.
“It will just a way better quality of life for us. We can afford to live here, and it was our dream to build a home for our family,” Sarah Martinez said. “We saved for a really long time, my husband and I worked our butts off.”
But when they arrived in the Houston Area last week and woke up the next morning, the U-Haul and their car were gone.
“My first reaction was, oh, they towed it,” Julio Martinez said.
But Houston Police found the moving truck, empty and abandoned. Their car, packed with other belongings, is also gone.
“No beds, no essentials, no couch, no table to make dinner at, nothing,” said Sarah Martinez, who is seven months pregnant. “The crib, the baby’s jumper, the baby’s clothes.”
“We don’t have extra money. All of our money went to building this new life for us,” she added.
“To explain to a four-year-old [that] it’s just not there anymore, [he] can’t grasp that,” Sarah Martinez said. “That was his safety. He knew wherever we were going, he would have his favorite toys; he’d have his scooter, he’d have his sneakers, he’d have all these things that reminded him of home.”
“I was like, wow, we have nothing,” Julio Martinez said.
But the Martinez family has also not lost hope. They are looking forward to moving into their new home on Friday, even if it will be empty for now.
“By no means do we think this was a sign not to be here,” Sarah Martinez said. “I think it was just like a tough obstacle.”
“I think sometimes when you’re headed in the right direction some forces try to push back at you,” she added. “But we just think God has our back no matter what.”