A woman, who was once homeless and struggling with drug addiction on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, is now searching for a man she credits with “saving her life.”
With her life now back on track – all she wants to do is thank this man.
It was a cold, wet night 13 years ago when Krisi Ferris reached one of her lowest points while walking along East Hastings Street. She was ready to end it all until a Good Samaritan, who claimed to be an off-duty police officer, pulled over in a black SUV to offer her help that would change the course of her life.
This is how she reached that moment.
The now 37-year-old Ferris grew up in Calgary, but moved to Vancouver in March 2005 with an ex-boyfriend during a turbulent stage in her life.
At the time, she was addicted to crack cocaine and had become trapped in an abusive relationship.
After a year in Vancouver, she escaped the relationship, but wound up on the streets of the Downtown Eastside with nowhere to turn.
“I was stepping into a whole new downward spiral,” Ferris explained to V.I.A.
“I was a homeless addict in a new city with no one I knew.”
By the spring of 2006 Ferris had hit rock bottom and was numbing the pain with a cocktail of drugs – heroin, morphine and crack.
One night as she walked down East Hastings Street, near Columbia Street, she contemplated ending it all.
“I remembered thinking, ‘the next person to offer me a needle, I’m going to do it. I’m done, I’m just done…”
As the thought crossed her mind, a black SUV truck slowly drove along the street beside her.
Her first instinct was to yell “I’m not a hooker! F*** off!”
“I kept walking. He kept driving. Then his passenger window started to go down and I thought, ‘great, I’m going to die tonight, this person’s going to shoot me.’”
But that wasn’t the case at all. The man in the black SUV genuinely just wanted to help.
She remembers the man called out from the window, “Do you need help?” but she wasn’t ready to trust him.
“That’s all I heard,” she recalled.
“And trust me, [asking if you need help] is a line almost every creep out there uses.”
She said she initially declined the offer and kept walking, but the man kept following.
It was his words, ‘I really don’t think you belong down here!’ that made Ferris think twice about accepting his help.
“These words rang too true, as I said this to myself daily while I was there,” Ferris said.
“I knew this was the work of angels. In that moment, my guard went down. I took my hoodie down and said, ‘you’re a perfect stranger, how do I know you’re not a killer!?’”
She said the man told her he was a police officer.
“He said, ‘I’m an off-duty cop, don’t think I’ll be killing anyone,’” Ferris said.
“He showed me a badge. I reached for the handle, opened the door, and asked to see it. It was a badge all right, and the relief made my knees buckle and I almost fell. I climbed in.”
The man then asked Ferris what her plans were and where she was from.
“I told him I was going to get a room at the Columbia Hotel for the night and do drugs,” she said.
“He said, ‘what if I made you a deal… I’ll take your money and get you a bus ticket back to Calgary, and I’ll pay for your room tonight.’
“I will be back at exactly 11a.m. and I’ll be waiting to take you to the bus, if you’re truly ready to end this,” added the man.
Ferris said she told the man she was ready to change and couldn’t be more grateful, but her family had used tough love techniques in the past and she was worried they wouldn’t accept her.
So, to help ensure she connected with her family, the man called and spoke to her mother.
“I never heard what he said to convince them,” Ferris said.
The officer returned to the Columbia Hotel the next day just as he said he would.
“When his truck pulled up I was so excited,” Ferris said. “I ran out of the hotel and jumped in.”
She said the man gave her a brown paper bag with food for the trip and a Cabbage Patch Kids doll.
The man then explained to her: “The food my wife packed is for your trip back to Calgary, the doll is for your daughter when she meets you at the bus station with the rest of your family.”
“The tears started falling. I was astonished,” Ferris said.
“He directed me to the place to wait in the old train station and wished me the best of luck in my future.”
Ferris had a few relapses after arriving in Calgary, but finally “kicked everything after a long battle.”
The mother of two, and step-mother to two, has now been sober for a decade. She has also reunited with her immediate family and reconnected with her high school sweetheart.
“Life has been good,” she said.
She first put out the call in 2015 to find the man who helped her, but had no luck. Now, she’s trying to find him again.
Ferris told Vancouver Is Awesome she couldn’t remember the man’s name or what he looked like, but believes he would have been in his early 30’s at the time, and was caucasian. She was unable to recall what specific policing outfit he was part of.
“I would love to express my ultimate gratitude to such a wonderful, caring human being, who was not in anyway obligated to help me,” she said.
To her Good Samaritan, she says: “You changed my life, sir, and I hate to think of where I would be today without your help.”
Vancouver Is Awesome has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department and Lower Mainland RCMP to help with her search.
If you have any information that may help track down this Good Samaritan please let us know.