Woman offers shelter to others

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After getting her email, we set up a Shockoe Bottom meeting with Latoya Robinson.

"I'm so excited you nominated my girlfriend, it's so nice," she said.

We wanted to know all about her friend, Laneisha Wyatt, who she says has a heart of gold.

"I nicknamed her Mother Teresa. She started out years ago buying investment properties. Instead of using them for to get return back, she actually started…she lets people come in, move in, if you're in a transition period in your life," Robinson said. "It's not just she's putting you anywhere, she wants you to feel at home, feed you and take good care of you."

When asked how Wyatt finds these people or they find her, Robinson said, "Well to be honest, she just meets or somebody tells her. She's like on the phone, 'let me see what I can do.'"

Robinson told me about a couple her friend recently gave shelter after they were forced out on the streets.

"They lost their apartment. He was still coming to work. She just let them move into one of the properties until they could get on their feet," she explained. "She's just one of those people that when you just see there's not happy ending, she will make sure you feel there's a brighter tomorrow."

Robinson: "She's inside waiting for us to go lunch because we haven't seen each other since the beginning of the year."
Sabrina: "Well we better get on with it. Latoya, here's $100, $200, $300."
Robinson: "She's going to be quite surprised."
Sabrina: "Let's do this."

The Tobacco Company's manager was in on the surprise. We made our way through the busy lunchtime crowd. We found Laneisha, patiently calm and curious.

Robinson: "I brought some special friends along. For all the kind things you do for all the people you provide shelter for....I told Sabrina you were going to beat me good."
Wyatt: "Oh my God Toya!"
Sabrina: "I'm gonna cry, you're our Acts of Kindness recipient. Your friend says you have a heart of gold, so we have a little green for you."
Robinson: "Wanted to make sure you get this - $100, $200, $300. I know you will make sure you bless someone because that's what you do."
Wyatt: "Thank you so much."

We had one question for Laneisha Wyatt: what motivates her to do this? She said, "Because I've been there, it's not easy, but I've been blessed. I was a single teenage mom. I grew up in Essex Village. I lost my brother there at the age of 16. He was hit by a stray bullet. He lost his life."

Wyatt says her life changed drastically. Her mom refused to let her get on welfare. She got a diploma, a good job, and a home.

"I purchased my first home at 21," she said.

She put her daughter in private school. "She is a senior at Collegiate this year. She's graduating. We're doing our tours for college now."

And she just became a foster mom to another teenage girl.

"She's at Varina now and she got straight A's on her last report card," Wyatt added.

Wyatt says life has taught her to judge less, listen more and try to help.

"You'll be surprised at the stories behind the people. Once you hear their stories, you can't walk away from that, you can't," she said.

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