Barnesville, Ga. – When police received a report over the weekend of a tent pitched outside of Gordon State College in Barnesville, Ga., they headed over and asked the occupant to come out with hands in sight, the Herald-Gazette reports.
Fred Barley, 19, emerged, and he had an amazing story to tell—and thanks to the cops’ compassionate reaction, his story became even more amazing, according to WSB-TV.
A homeless biology major who’d come to register for his second semester, Barley had pedaled a 20-inch bike six hours from Conyers in the scorching Georgia heat with just his tent, a few belongings, some water, and a box of cereal, setting up his tent until the dorms opened in August so he could job-hunt.
The officers were stunned and brought him to a motel and paid for two nights. “I could tell he was a good kid … who had been dealt a bad hand,” officer Dicky Carreker tells the Herald-Gazette.
Carreker’s wife posted Barley’s story on a community Facebook page, and that’s when things really started to change for the student. Not only does Barley now have a place to stay—the motel owner and a local resident, Casey Blaney, have paid for his stay through Monday, when the college will allow him to move into the dorms early—but he also now has a job at a local pizza joint and has been showered with gifts from strangers, including a new bike, clothes, and school supplies.
Blaney also started a Success for Fred Facebook page and GoFundMe page, which has already raised more than $36,000. “More important than everything—the clothes, the shoes—the relationships mean so much more to me,” Barley tells WSB.
Check out his emotional thank-you video on the WSB site.
This article originally appeared on Newser: Homeless but Determined, Teen Pitched Tent Outside College