PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - He was down and out with nowhere to turn. But now, a Palm Beach County man is about to trade in the streets for a new life after refusing handouts and refusing to give up.
56-year old 'Ron' considers a Palm Beach Gardens shopping center and gas station his 'home'. Specifically, he sleeps in his 2002 4-door Saturn; but not for much longer.
"It's a very lonely life and it's hazardous and it's scary sometimes," said Ron. Before he had this car, Ron used to curl up and sleep in the bushes with the Alternate A1A traffic buzzing right by. "Ended up out here with a push cart and some clothes in it," he said.
Devastated after a failed marriage, Ron lost everything - including his house - in 2011.
"It showed me it's all fleeting," he said. "Vanity is all fleeting. Everything you own can just disappear overnight."
He wanted a better life. And without begging or panhandling, Ron decided he needed to start saving money. In turn, he said, he began saving himself.
"People came over to me and would let me cut their grass or paint their fence or whatever and they overpaid me, no doubt about it," he said. "Just out of the kindness of their hearts, they overpaid me."
Ron dropped to 89 lb. at one point, skipping meals in order to save the $2,300 to buy his car, all so he could drive to potential employers to find a steady job. Since then, he has landed work - at of all places - a car wash.
"It shows you what the world is," he said. "The people who gave me the jobs and the money to come back from this."
Tuesday night, though, will be Ron's last night sleeping in his car. After nearly two years, he has worked enough and saved enough. Wednesday he will sign the lease on a new furnished apartment.
"I'm kind of more worried if i can sleep in a bed, in all honesty," said Ron. "I haven't been able to stretch all the way out for a pretty long time."
"God watched over me real hard," he said. "He's led me down this path. I believe that. It's my total belief. And it's just the one more step in the right direction."