In the three months after uprooting their lives in Phoenix, Ariz., and moving to Detroit, the Davises have already experienced some of the woes that plague the city's neighborhoods.
They had to evict a squatter from their new home, they discovered their boiler was stolen, and, on Thursday morning, they found all four wheels were stripped from their Kia Sorento. The latest blow is not a new crime in their neighborhood off 6 Mile, but how the Davises chose to react to it is a novel idea.
Ashley Davis took some paint and wrote a large sign that read, "To whoever stole our wheels, you are loved and we forgive you." She hung the banner on the fence of their home on Hubbell St. and the message was far-reaching.
"It’s had a great effect. People would stop and tell us how happy they were to see the sign and how encouraging it was, and that touched me a lot, but it was really about just not allowing bitterness and anger to take over and impact what I ultimately want to be doing," Davis said.
What Ashley and Robert Davis ultimately want to do is open a center where teens in foster care can learn trade skills. But even before that dream is realized, Ashley Davis wants her neighbors - and the thieves - to know you don’t have to do good just on a large scale to make an impression.
"Hopefully show the people that live around us that there is a different way to respond to things," she said.
"Detroit is a great place. We’re really happy that we’re here. We just hope that this whole situation will just be an example to just practice love and forgiveness," Robert Davis said.
The couple will have to fork over $1,800 to replace their wheels, but they said they're not looking back. They plan to open up their youth center next May.