Social media can ruin people’s lives when embarrassing details are shared. But one woman’s mean-spirited post recently changed a man’s life after people responded in the best way possible: with compassion.
Simon Childs, 21, was taking a break from his shift at a Georgia McDonald’s.
Homeless and with nowhere to go to rest, he laid down in a booth to close his eyes for a few moments. That was when a female customer took a picture of him and posted it on Facebook.
“Just another reason for me to leave Fayetteville,” she wrote. “I was in the McDonald’s in the middle of town and I saw this guy sleeping in the booth. I go and tell an employee that someone is asleep in their booth and her response was ‘oh yeah, we know hee hee, it’s ok’ and I said ‘not really but whatever.’”
What she didn’t know was that Childs wasn’t just homeless.
He was also grieving the recent loss of his mother and struggling to provide for his young son.
But the reaction was something the poster never expected. Instead of mocking Childs, the community reached out in mass to help him, providing haircuts, transportation, donations, and more.
Childs says it was painful to see the Facebook post, designed to make fun of him.
He was naturally embarrassed to see a social media post that was intended to paint him in a bad light, as someone who was lazy or embarrassing.
“Everything I do, I want to work for it,” he said. “It kind of hurt to see my picture up there, you know? I thought it was something negative and nobody would care about it.”
But to their credit, the community of Fayette County, Georgia didn’t react to the post the way anyone expected.
Instead of making fun of him or calling him lazy for sleeping in a public place, people all over Facebook recognized that he was someone in need. Then when a local news station picked up the story, people rallied to help him.
Childs was offered a free haircut and has a new job opportunity.
People sent diapers and other baby supplies to the McDonald’s location so he could bring them home for his son. Several chefs even reached out to him, offering to let him borrow a car so he could go to job interviews.
Childs said that in just a few days, the social media post had changed his entire life. He said he was shocked and touched by the community’s effort to reach out and do something good for him when he was in need.
“I didn’t think the community would even care enough to do that, but they care,” he said.
As for the woman who made the post, Childs has decided to look at what she did in a positive light. He now has a home, and ironically, it’s because of what she did.
“I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her,” he said.
Since the post, the woman has met with Childs to apologize and says she will never make a post like that again — and she says she wants to reach out to others struggling to find homes.
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