(NY Post) — A married mother of four from Florida ditched her family to become part of the raggedy mob in Zuccotti Park — keeping the park clean by day and keeping herself warm at night with the help of a young waiter from Brooklyn.
“I’m not planning on going home,” an unapologetic Stacey Hessler, 38, told The Post yesterday.
“I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever,” said Hessler, whose home in DeLand sits 911 miles from the tarp she’s been sleeping under.
Hessler — who ironically is married to a banker — arrived 12 days ago and planned to stay for a week, but changed her plans after cozying up to some like-minded radicals, including Rami Shamir, 30, a waiter at a French bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
She swears she’s not romantically involved with her new friend.
Yesterday was a typical day for the pair, who woke up at 8 a.m. on their little patch of paving stone near the communal kitchen and dashed off to Trinity Church to wash up.
Hessler emerged an hour later, her brown hair in dreadlocks, wearing a T-shirt depicting Han Solo and Princess Leia kissing, and bearing the slogan “Make Love Not War.”
She got coffee and a granola bar from the protest kitchen before sorting laundry for two hours.
The unemployed Long Island native compared her decision to abandon her family to Americans serving in the armed forces.
“Military people leave their families all the time, so why should I feel bad?” a defiant Hessler said. “I’m fighting for a better world.”
She said she had been following the movement on Facebook, and the more she learned, the more obsessed she became with joining the demonstrators.
At around 11 a.m. yesterday, Hessler moved from laundry duty to park cleanup — a four-hour detail from which she broke just once to give a troubled protester a hug at the “empathy table.” She also found time for a meditation session later in the day.
Hessler has spoken with her family — husband Curtiss, 42; son Peyton, 17; and daughters Kennedy 15, Sullivan, 13, and Veda, 7 — just three times since leaving them. “Friends are taking care of them,” she said.
Not everyone has supported her decision. “My mother told me I was being very selfish,” she admitted.