Reach: Ford - Stories of Strength 2020_October 2020
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Grab your Kleenex.

In a world of utter turmoil, every once in a while, there’s a story that shows the capacity for humans to love. And this story out of Barnesville, GA will pull at your heartstrings.

Nineteen-year-old Fred Barley is homeless, but understands the importance of higher education. Despite natural elements of rain or heat, the teen rode his little brother’s kid-size bike six hours to sign up for classes for his second semester at Gordon State College. Carrying only two duffel bags of possessions and 2 gallons of water, he made the trip.

But unfortunately the college dorms don’t open until August. So Barley pitched a tent in some bushes on campus and prepared to spend the next few weeks there, with nothing more than a box of cereal to eat.

As reported by WSB-TV, police responded to a report that someone pitched a tent on campus and approached Barley. But instead of arresting the young man, they simply talked to him.

“He [the officer] was so understanding and he said, ‘I definitely I applaud you for doing this. We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay,’” Barley told the location news station.

The series of events to happen next were truly a miracle.

In addition to housing the teen in a nearby motel, Barley was given a job as a dishwasher at a nearby pizza spot. People also donated clothes, school supplies, shoes, and a new, adult-size bike to him — in addition raising nearly $9,000 in two days on a GoFundMe page. That amount has now swelled to over $184,000. (Donations have now ended.)

“The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am Black and he didn’t care what color I was,” the biology major who plans to a physician said about the officer who initially approached him.

“He just helped me, and that meant a lot.”

PHOTO: KTLA screenshot

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Homeless Teen Rides Bike Six Hours For College Education  was originally published on