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Stepping Up To Help A Resident In Need



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One resident’s recent grocery store excursion led to helping another resident in need.

Roughly three weeks ago, Newtown resident Robyn Abrams “was going to pick up a couple things” at Caraluzzi’s Market in Newtown when she noticed a woman walk out of the store and catch her grocery bag on something. The bag ripped and contents spilled out, rolling in the parking lot.

While another shopper offered to have the spilled items re-bagged, Abrams went over to offer her assistance to the woman, who was estimated to be older. The woman was waiting for a ride, but she did not know where or who was coming to pick her up. So Abrams brought her back inside the grocery store to wait for the ride.

A short while later, the woman was still waiting for her ride. So Abrams offered to bring her home.

Abrams remembers noticing bushes along the woman’s gravel driveway while pulling up to the house.

“We were walking up her steps. I didn’t see any lighting,” Abrams said.

And that is when the woman made a comment about the final step leading up to the porch being missing. If the woman had not made the comment at the right moment, Abrams said she would not have known the top step was missing.

“I would be afraid to walk up and down [the steps like that],” Abrams said.

So she returned the next day to check on the woman. And she returned the following week. She met a neighbor, who told Abrams that the woman had been living in the house for at least 20 years.

When she saw the stairs again in the daylight, Abrams said she found them even more concerning. The woman told her she was not in need of anything, but Abrams was still concerned. So she turned to Facebook. At first she posted a personal account about the event on her own Facebook page. Then a friend told her to share the story on a “Newtown Neighbors Unite” page.

“I was not prepared for the responses I got,” Abrams shared.

One of the responses came from PBL Construction in Sandy Hook. After working out a meeting time between the woman and PBL Construction, Abrams met the company’s owner Antony Matute at the woman’s Sandy Hook home. After the first inspection and after getting permission from the home owner, Matute and Abrams later returned on a Saturday so Matute could fix the missing step.

“She was really happy about that,” Abrams said.

Matute later said in a phone interview that it was his wife, Adriana Guaman, who first saw the post on Facebook. Matute said he had the lumber and equipment necessary to help, so he helped, and it was his first time helping someone in this way.

Matute remembers the woman coming to thank them once the step was fixed.

“It was a really nice experience, and I am happy that we were able to help her,” Matute said. Later he added, “Right now is a really good time to help, because people are really in need of somebody at this time.”

Abrams said she has lived in Newtown for 13 years, after moving from a rural area in New York.

“I was raised to treat everybody the way I would like to be treated, so if I can go out of my way to help anyone I will,” said Abrams. When asked what she wants residents to know about the experience, she said, “Always remember that even in this time, everything is uncertain, and it is one of the reasons I fell in love with Newtown... people always go out of their way.”

Abrams said she was careful and safe during her interactions with the woman, and she spoke to the woman a bit about COVID-19.

If people take anything away from her recent experience, Abrams said she hopes others will think of the phrase, “Let no one come to you without leaving happier.”

“Someone said that to me once a long time ago, and...it has stuck with me. I am trying to make it my mantra for 2020. Kindness matters no matter how small an act, especially now,” Abrams said. “I might not have been able to solve every problem for this woman, nor do I have the most resources right now, but I think just caring and reaching out went a long way. In the end, many people got involved to make it a community effort. I think that is the very essence of Newtown.”

PBL Construction Owner Antony Matute recently fixed the top step on this Sandy Hook home after resident Robyn Abrams posted a story about meeting the home’s owner.
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