When Scott Lovell was hit by two cars in the same day and lost half his leg, he decided to not look back on it as a painful experience, but instead to be grateful.
“It wasn’t a bad day, because I’m still living. There are not going to be many people who were hit by two cars who are still alive,” he said. “It was a good day.”
This is just one example of Lovell’s uncanny ability to find the positive aspects in any situation. He constantly thanks God for all the blessings in his life, even though, in previous years, it may have seemed such blessings were few and far between.
Lovell grew up in North Carolina in a middle class neighborhood. When he was six years old his father left his family, so he and his brother were raised by their mother and grandmother. Lovell credits his mother and grandmother for instilling him with strong morals from an early age.
“I was taught by my mom to treat others as you want to be treated,” Lovell said. “My grandmother would pay for people on the bus, and my mom would give her shirt off her back to help others.”
Then, at only eleven years old, Lovell began using drugs and alcohol. Years later, as he continued along this path, he landed in prison for his involvement in a drug deal.
Lovell’s brother, mother and grandmother all passed away while he was serving his sentence. In addition to these painful losses, he now had nowhere to stay after he was released from prison.
After Lovell left jail, a pastor gave him permission to sleep in a church. Lovell remained at this church in Virginia for about 10 months before coming to DC.
Then, Lovell met who he refers to as his “guardian angel.”
Lovell often slept outside the Verizon Center, where at least he could watch the Washington Capitals’ hockey games on the Jumbo-tron. One night as he was cheering on the team, a woman noticed him and notified Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Washington Capitals. Leonsis came outside and invited Lovell into his private suite. There, he offered Lovell some pocket money, a hooded sweatshirt and a promise to pay his rent if he did not have a place to stay.
True to his word, Leonsis paid Lovell’s rent until he was moved off a waiting list for an apartment.
“[Leonsis] came into my life at a crucial point. I may have been dead if he never got me off the street,” Lovell said. “God put this man in my life to help me brush myself off.”
Lovell’s friendship with Leonsis not only helped him move forward by assisting him with finding a job and a place to live, but also supported him in moving beyond regret for past decisions.
“He told me to get out of the past,” Lovell said. “He said you can’t go forward while looking in the rearview mirror.”
Today, Lovell has a home, steady work at a carwash and a job as a Street Sense vendor. After every issue Lovell makes sure to give a copy of Street Sense to his boss and to Leonsis. To Lovell, being a Street Sense vendor is more about standing on a corner and selling a newspaper. He calls himself a “street minister” because he builds relationships with his customers and teaches them and helps them learn from their experiences.
“People come to me with their problems,” he said. “I tell them about my problems and help them deal with theirs.”
Lovell’s daily interactions with his customers make his day because he is able to make their days a little brighter. He makes sure to tell everyone to have a good morning, or good evening, or good weekend.
“It’s very good for me to know I made someone’s day just by talking and smiling,” Lovell said. “I help my customers by being there. God wants us to be a blessing to somebody else.”
Lovell always tries to remember to thank God for all the numerous blessings in his life, including his job, Street Sense customers, son, grandchildren and apartment. He recently looked out the window of his apartment and thanked God he no longer had to endure the hot and humid Washingtonian summers on the street.
“Right now I’m at peace and rest with everyday struggles,” Lovell said. “It’s a joy to be in my apartment. There’s nothing like having your own place. Now I say Hallelujah!”