Sandra Bullock is lending a helping hand to someone in need.
She made made a $5,000 donation to help Svend Petersen — the longtime pool manager of the Beverly Hills Hotel who recently found himself homeless, hopping from motel to motel and spending many nights sleeping in his car.
“Sometimes I go three or four days without food,” Petersen, 89, told CBS-2. “As long as I have something to drink, I’m happy.”
Petersen has been at the Beverly Hills Hotel for over 40 years — socializing with stars like Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire and Katharine Hepburn (to name a few) and earning nicknames like “the Poolside Prince” and “the Cabana King.”
Friends Mercedes Kennedy, Thomas Marinello and Art Galstyan set up a GoFundMe page for Peterson — with a goal to get him a studio or one-bedroom apartment in the Los Angeles area.
On the GoFundMe page, they gave insight into how somebody who dedicated so many years of his life serving the Beverly Hills Hotel and its clientele ended up on the street.
“The realtors that swindled him into selling his house quickly also caused the IRS to come after him,” they claim. “The IRS subtracts money from his Social Security every month. He owes $71,000 in taxes just from the selling of his house. Credit card companies canceled his cards and the checking account is in minus. His life went in a downhill spiral resulting in homelessness.”
“To give you an example, Svend had two bananas today because all the money is used for paying for the motel, P.O. Box, storage, and IRS,” they continue. “A few weeks back he had to sleep in a car under a freeway bridge. At 86 years old, his life consists of going from motel to motel and when the money runs out, he sleeps in a car. Cheapest motel we found is $89 a day.”
In addition to his financial problems, Peterson has also struggled with health issues.
“He was recently hospitalized for an infection,” the Go Fund Me page continues. “They drained spinal fluid and now he is slowly recovering. All of this stress and instability is taking a toll on his health.”
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Luckily for Peterson, his cause has received a lot of high-profile attention.
Originally seeking $5,900 for “down payment and first 3 months rent along with food so he can get back on his feet,” the campaign has raised $29,202 by over 350 people in just 10 days.
Bullock, 52, was one of those people. “Everything is going to be okay,” she wrote in the note to her donation — adding the message had come from her 7-year-old son, Louis Bullock.
So far, the money is helping — according to updates posted on the site. “We would like to thank you all,” one read, addressing Peterson’s broken glasses. “We will be taking Svend to get new glasses. He’s so excited! We will have a video update on the entire process hopefully tomorrow. The gift of eye sight is really important.”