Best Random Act of Kindness (2000)
J. Mark Davis
There's no telling where Cynthia Flood and her two children would be living today if they hadn't crossed paths with Mark Davis. Last October, Davis read a story in the Houston Press that recounted how Flood's $250-a-month apartment in the Fourth Ward was in the path of a city-sponsored redevelopment project and was destined to be demolished. She was denied a government-subsidized apartment in the new Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway because of credit problems. Flood had taken out a student loan to attend Hargest College a decade ago, but dropped out when she became pregnant with her son. Her government checks, however, kept going to Hargest, which kept cashing them. Flood, a single mother earning $7.15 an hour checking groceries at Kroger, managed to whittle an $8,000 debt down to $1,700, but the city housing authority nonetheless rejected her application for housing. Enter Davis, a bankruptcy lawyer and estate planner who knew someone with a contact at the U.S. Department of Education. Davis helped Flood with the paperwork for a deferment, which removed the delinquency from her credit report. He also pestered city housing officials until they reconsidered Flood's application. In May, thanks to Davis's generous donation of time and expertise, Flood and her kids moved into a new apartment at the Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway. "She just needed someone to cut through the red tape," says Davis, a solo practitioner. "I think attorneys have an obligation, when they can, to provide assistance to people who need it."