Last week, 19-year-old student Fred Barley, who is homeless, packed up his tent in Conyers, Georgia, and biked more than 50 miles in sweltering heat just to register for classes at Gordon State College. But he never imagined what was in store for him.
Barley used a small bike he borrowed from his little brother and carried everything he owned in two duffel bags, including two gallons of water and a box of cereal, reported The Huffington Post.
After a six-hour bike ride, he arrived on campus, then pitched his tent in some bushes and prepared to spend the next few weeks there until the dorms officially opened in August.
But after spending a day looking for jobs in the area, Barley returned to his tent, where police officers later found him asleep. They asked him to come out with his hands up, but when they saw him, they knew something was amiss.
After Barley told officers that he was homeless, but majored in biology at Gordon State and aspired to go to medical school, they were heartbroken and offered to put him up in a motel for two nights.
“We get to talking with him asking where he’s from and he tells us of his bike ride from Conyers. I’m like man this is crazy,” Officer Richard Carreker told Fox News.
Officer Carreker, along with another officer, put Fred in a hotel room.
“He was deeply thankful he wasn’t going to sleep in that tent,” said Carreker.
Barley, grateful for their offer, packed up his tent and the officers brought him to a motel.
“The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am black and he didn’t care what color I was,” Barley told reporters. “He just helped me, and that meant a lot.”
Word of Fred’s situation traveled quickly through town. Casey Blaney and her son Cole went to Fred’s hotel room.
“We asked him what he wanted and what we could do for him and he just said ‘I really don’t want anything.’ After we kept asking, he said ‘A job,’” said Blaney.
Across town, over at DB’s Pizzeria, owner Debra Adamson was also hearing about Fred’s story.
“She hired me on the spot. She didn’t even know my first or last name,” Barley said fighting back the laughter of sheer joy.
He’s now working and plans to enroll in classes Friday.
Casey also set up the Success For Fred Facebook page and a GoFundMe site for the teen ― and support from the community poured in.
So far, the teen has received donations including a new bike, school supplies, shoes and clothes. Gordon State College offered to open his dorm room early, so he’ll have a place to stay. And through the fundraising site Blaney set up, strangers from far and wide have donated a total of $184,266 for Barley within five days.
“All of this has been so overwhelming…I’m kind of speechless but I just wanted to tell you guys that I thank you all so much,” Barley said in the video.
He said he plans to keep everyone who donated updated on his grades and mentioned that he plans to save some of the money for medical school tuition.
“I want to show you that all you’ve done for me is not going to waste,” he added. “I appreciate all of you guys for all you’ve been doing. Even if you stopped today, I promise you, you’ve done enough.”