Police responded to a call during the weekend about a tent pitched outside Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia. When they arrived on the scene, the officers found 19-year-old Fred Barley, who had a heartwarming story to tell.
Barley is majoring in biology and was on campus to register for classes for his second semester. He told the cops that he rode his bicycle from Conyers, Georgia, six hours away. He was planning to sleep in the tent and search for a job until the start of the semester in August.
Stirred by the teenager’s story, the officers brought Barley to a nearby motel and paid for a room for him for two nights.
“I could tell he was a good kid, who had been dealt a bad hand,” officer Dicky Carreker told the Herald-Gazette.
Barley did not know it, but that night marked the beginning of a string of good fortune that was headed his way.
Officer Carreker’s wife learned of the teen’s predicament and posted his story on a community Facebook page. Casey Blaney, the owner of the motel where Barley was staying, paid for the teen’s room until Monday when the college agreed to allow him to move into the dorms early.
Along with a new job at a local pizza restaurant, Barley was showered with gifts, a new bicycle, clothes, and school supplies–all from complete strangers, who heard his story and were moved to give.
In a Facebook Live video, Blaney updated everyone who gave to Barley and said that she took him to set up a trust fund. She also warned that there were fraudulent fundraisers being set up in his name.
“More important than everything—the clothes, the shoes—the relationships mean so much more to me,” Barley told WSBTV. “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.”
Thousands of people have offered Barley support and prayers.
On Thursday, Barley recorded a video message to thank everyone who has helped him:
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson.