The numerous amount of abandoned buildings that have started to take over certain urban areas has created a unique opportunity for those with the ambition to search for something others may not see. Urban exploration is a great hobby for those trying to get out their comfort zones, and most people have at least a moderate level of interest in exploring strange new places. There is one caveat that many don’t consider before they go traipsing through a structure they believe to be empty. What if the structure isn’t actually abandoned?
Such a situation unfolded for an Instagram photographer based out of Ontario. The Tourist, or Leslie, as she is better known, is a popular urban exploration photographer, and she shares her photos with her followers through social media. She started a new series of photos in June of 2015, and that story is spreading like wildfire.
Leslie was on her way home one evening when she took a chance exploring a seemingly abandoned home that she’d had her eye on for some time. Before she went inside, she couldn’t have guessed what was waiting for her, or how it would change her life in a deeply profound way.
She carefully entered the dilapidated building. The driveway was covered in weeds and grass, the roof had caved in along several places, and the interior was only lit by what little natural light could reach it. Leslie walked through the front door and entered the living room, where she got the shock of her young life.
In the living room, sitting quietly, was an old man she later learned was named Lawrence. His right eye was gone, and he could barely see out of his left eye due to cataracts. Lawrence has difficulty moving around, which had forced him to spend most of his time in his old home, entirely alone. He could no longer perform the necessary upkeep to maintain the property, so it had fallen into disarray.
Once Lawrence realized there was an uninvited guest in his living room, he instantly became warm and welcoming. Leslie and Lawrence spoke for some time, and he allowed her to take a photo of him in his home. Leslie treasures the picture as one of the most meaningful she has ever taken.
The two became friends as Leslie continued to visit the old man in his home. She learned how he fractured his hip in 2000, which inhibited his mobility. He told her about his brother, a man he was once close with but had since lost communication. According to Lawrence, his brother was also experiencing health issues.
Leslie and Lawrence each consider the other to be the best thing that has ever happened to them. Leslie appreciates the incredible story of Lawrence’s life, and she happily helps him out where she can. Lawrence finally has a friend to communicate with, and a caregiver that actually cares for his well-being. When Lawrence was able to visit the doctor, he was told his health was in bad shape and that he may not last more than a few months. Upon hearing the news, the old man immediately insisted that Leslie attend his funeral when the time came, which she was more than happy to oblige.
Lawrence is currently living in a retirement home with a decent prognosis. Leslie continues to visit him at the home, and she even brings her pet dog Violet to help keep him company. If there were more people like Leslie in this world, it would be a much better place.