HOUSTON -- Just off MLK Boulevard near boarded up houses and overgrown lots, sits the sandwich shop where an innocent customer was killed during a holdup.
And not far from there, Sammie McGrew still grieves the loss of her son.
“I’m feeling sad,” McGrew said. “It’s still not real.”
Sometimes it takes a news story to make things seem real. That’s especially true for homeowners along quiet tree lined streets some 20 miles away.
"When I first saw it, I was really moved by it,” said Randy Hartley outside his Sugar Land home.
Hartley saw the images on KHOU 11 News. Christopher McGrew, 36, was gunned down at the Subway while eating his dinner. Two teenage suspects had been arrested and charged with the crime.
And it turned out the victim's family had no money to pay for the funeral.
"When I saw them, I had my checkbook in hand,” Hartley said. “I wanted to react quickly.”
So Hartley called a friend who put him in touch with the family. Hartley gave them the money to help pay for the funeral and cover the cost of flying other relatives in from out of state. The gesture of kindness came from a complete and total stranger.
“It’s a blessing,” said the victim’s sister LaFreda McGrew. “He helped us in terms of getting my brother in the ground."
"I appreciate everything he's done,” added the victim’s mother.
Hartley believes everyone is connected and should help one another when possible.
“We're all equal,” Hartley said. “We're all human beings."
McGrew's funeral will take place on Saturday. Hartley plans to attend and sit next to the victim's family.