Finally, some better news.
Just one week ago, Fred Barley was a 19-year-old homeless college student who rode his bike six hours each day just to make it to classes at Georgia’s Gordon State college. He lived in a tent and had little if nothing to eat. But his world was transformed on July 9, after his story went viral.
Unfortunately, the dormitories at the Georgia college were closed until August, which led Barley to pitch a tent near some bushes on campus as he awaited the college’s open. On July 10, officers discovered the makeshift home after responding to a campus call about a trespasser.
The officers explained to the biology major he couldn’t sleep on the campus grounds and that’s when they listened to his story. After hearing about his journey and struggle, the police officers escorted him to a nearby motel, where they covered his pay for the next two days. “The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am black, and he didn’t care what color I was. He just helped me, and that meant a lot,” Barley told WSB-TV. “He 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.'”
But the interaction didn’t end there. One officer’s wife was so moved by Barley’s story she posted it to a community Facebook page. The video soon went viral, which inspired many many neighbors to help Barley. “I was shocked by how much support people will give from Lamar County and counties all over, and even people from across the country that I’ve never met just wanted to help so much in my life. I was just so shocked and grateful,” said.
According to reports, one neighbor, Casey Blaney, and the motel where Barley was staying paid for him to remain in the room until he could move into the college dorms, which are now allowing him to move in early on July 18. Barley was also hired soon after by a pizzeria in the area. “I created a position for him before he walked in my door. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know the color of his skin. I didn’t care. I’ve been there, so I guess I had a soft spot for anyone who is that determined to succeed in life,” Debbie Adamson, the owner of the pizza shop said.
In addition to shelter for the time being and a job, the Barnesville Georgia community has also gifted Barley with clothing, school supplies, and a new bike. They’ve also made efforts to buy him a car and take care of his medical and dental needs. “The most shocking part is so many people coming to help a stranger, because honestly in today’s society, this sounds like a scam,” Barley stated. “Some of the gifts aren’t as important as the friends I’ve made. More important than everything—the clothes, the shoes—the relationships mean so much more to me.”
A Facebook page was set up in addition to a GoFundMe account to help raise money for Barley. In just two days, the community has raised nearly $180,000. On July 16, Barley posted a video on Facebook thanking the community for their overwhelming support and generosity. Check out Fred Barley’s video below.