Local man lends a helping hand to homeless man - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Local man lends a helping hand to homeless man

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Melissa Randall

mrandall@abc6.com

Twitter: @MelissaARandall

Ryan Fournier works the third shift as a RISD Public Safety Officer. While on the job he has come across a number of homeless people, but one in particular caught his attention; a man named George.

"I noticed his boots have holes in them with his socks and his feet showing through. I noticed his jacket was dirty, worn out," described Fournier.

The two met at a Providence Dunkin Donuts. George was counting change to buy a hot coffee.

Fournier offered to pay and bought him a sandwich, too.

"He was thankful. You could tell. He didn't exactly say thank you, but he looked at me and nodded his head kind of like he was more embarrassed," said Fournier.

The men got to talking. George told Fournier about his life on the streets. He's been homeless for 6 years now, since he lost his job. George was unable to cope with his mental illness.

Fournier couldn't stop thinking about their conversation. He posted about it on Face Book, and 10,000 likes later he got a message from an unlikely person. It was a man claiming to be George's relative from Maryland.

"I couldn't believe it. At first I thought this guy's lying. There's no way it's his brother," said Fournier.

Fournier did some digging and is convinced that man is telling the truth.

The brother says he stopped looking for George because he thought he'd died.

Fournier is now anxious to share the news in the hopes of bringing the two back together.

During our interview with Fournier ABC6 visited several of the areas where George is usually found, but did not have nay luck that day. Fournier tells us George tends to move around quite a bit.

While Fournier continues to look for George he is hoping the story will encourage others to make a small gesture that could change someone's life like he did with a simple cup of coffee.

Here's a challenge Fournier posted on his Face Book page:

Take a photo of you helping another person out make it your profile picture for the month of December hash tag it #helpinghanddecember do it to inspire, not for recognition.

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