Social media, despite some of it positive attributes, can be an easy way to hide behind your screen and say hateful things to or about others without feeling the consequences.
A Georgia woman learned this past week just how hurtful words posted on social media can be, but she also learned that good can come out of hate.
Last week, a McDonald’s employee was sleeping on a bench inside of the fast food restaurant. Luann Cofield saw the man, took his picture and later posted it to a private Facebook group with a caption that said, “Just another reason for me to leave Fayetteville.”
“I was in the McDonald’s in the middle of town and I saw this guy sleeping in the booth,” the post continued, “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.’”
The post went viral, but not in the way Cofield had intended.
Many in the community pushed back and started to rally together to get the young man the help he needed. WSBTV discovered Simon Childs, the man in the photo, was actually a homeless 21-year-old father who was sleeping in between his shifts.
A woman took a picture of a man asleep at a McDonalds and complained on Facebook, and how the community responded changed his life forever.
“I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her.”
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 24, 2019
“I’ve been going through a hard time with my mom passing,” he said according to WLNY.
A GoFundMe was set up for Childs and others in the community donated hotel rooms, clean clothes, a new haircut and were able to help him find a new job.
The owners of a local restaurant, Fusion Chefs Eatery, also let Simon borrow their second car to help him get back on his feet.
“We saw the post on Fabulous of Fayetteville, after reading and learning more about Simon and his situation it just touched our hearts,” they told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal. “I have an extra vehicle at home, so I thought one way we can help Simon out besides food was my secondary vehicle.”
Also…he has a car! The owners of The Fusion Chefs Eatery in Fayetteville have let Simon borrow a car as he works to secure permanent housing for him and his 4-month-old son. pic.twitter.com/F64mD2kStY
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 25, 2019
Somebody even invited him to live with them temporarily.
“I believe the community supported Simon because everyone learned his story,” Fusion Chefs Eatery told Liftable. “This is such a hard time for him after losing his mother and taking of of his family. He still stood up strong to support his family under any means necessary. Simon is very humble and a very strong individual.”
The photo that was posted out of misunderstanding actually ended up being Childs’ biggest blessing.
He told WSBTV, “I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her.”
Just a week later, Cofield reached out to WSBTV so she could meet Childs and apologize in person.
“I didn’t want to hurt him,” she said through tears. “And I’m sorry.”
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 28, 2019
Childs shared that he never had ill feelings toward her, but actually thanked her.
“I do want to thank you,” Childs told Cofield. “Not for the post per se, but for helping me pick my life up off the ground.”
Cofield also said that she has learned from this experience.
“I would handle it differently,” she said, if she were ever in a similar situation again. “Maybe talk to somebody, talk to them and see what the situation is.”
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