When James Polite, now 20 years old, was 13, his family kicked him out for being gay.
His mother told him he deserved to be disowned, he told DNAinfo.
He probably could not have anticipated the degree to which a chance encounter with Christine Quinn a year later would change his life.
The story came to light in an unrelated DNAinfo interview with Polite about homeless LGBT youth: Polite, always passionate about politics, met Quinn when he was volunteering at an LGBT event for Obama in 2007. She was reportedly struck by his his love of politics and immediately gave him an internship at the City Council. Since then, Quinn says, he's become the adopted little brother of the Council.
Many of the foster homes he ended up in were apparently less than shining examples of parenting: he told DNAinfo he was something denied food and locked out, forced to sleep in shelters.
But Quinn remarked that Polite has never let his experiences beat him down.
"Nothing has gone particularly well or easy in James' life and he is the most grateful, positive young man I've ever met," she told DNA. "Not every foster family was perfect, not every school was perfect, but he just always seems to believe there's something better around the corner and keeps working towards it."
As their bond grew over the last six years, Quinn has occasionally paid Polite's living expenses and even helped him get into Brandeis University, where he is now in his second year.
When he was accepted, her fierce devotion to him prompted her to call the school and demand he be looked out for.
"The school must have been like, 'Who the hell is this pushy broad?'" Quinn recounted. "But I just didn't want anything to go badly."
You know, you just don't want him to want for anything," she added.
And thanks to Quinn, he hasn't.
"I haven't had the same life I had before I met her," Polite told DNAinfo. "I've never had to worry about where I was going to get my next meal from, I haven't had to worry about anything."
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