When Randi Emmans-Bailyn and her boyfriend John Suazo came across a homeless man near their house, the couple knew they had to do something.
As Randi started a charity called Project Backpack in 2014, which helps homeless people in Los Angeles, they were able to offer him some resources.
Randi had gone on a walk with her dog when she came across the man – named Franklin.
She overheard him say something which really touched her.
Franklin had said: ‘Why do people just stand and look at me or laugh at me? I’m an extremely educated man. Say hello to me. Do not ignore me and give me these looks.’
Randi and John decided to give Franklin one of the backpacks they offer to other homeless people in the city, full of food, water, socks, and more.
But while offering him the items, they started talking to Franklin and finding out a bit more about his life.
They found that he hadn’t seen his family for 20 years and immediately started phoning around to help reunite them.
Eventually they came across his uncle who flew to L.A. to meet Franklin and take him home.
Randi shared the story on Instagram where she wrote: ‘Franklin was a homeless man outside of our building who we got to know in the past couple of weeks.
‘He is so smart and kind and all he wanted was to be reunited with his family. John and I searched the internet and John was able to find a phone number for a family member.
‘He and his family hadn’t spoken in over 20 years. As soon as we told them we had found him they said they would get on a plane because they too had been searching for him for the last 20 years.
‘We raised money and got him into a hotel, got him fresh clothes and shoes, food and other essentials.’
Randi urged people to not make homeless people feel invisible as it could really make their day just to smile at them and talk to them.
She added: ‘Please when you see someone on the street, don’t look away if they say hello.
‘It’s what he said made the difference to him every day- the people that acknowledged him kept him going and made him feel like someday he wouldn’t be so lonely.
‘He touched our hearts forever and we’re going to miss him. We cannot wait to see what this chapter holds for him.’
What a beautiful story.
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