Kindness Matters: How A Couple Helped A Homeless Man Reunite With His Family After 20 Years
When they overheard a man talking to himself in front of their home, they stopped and listened. What happened next will move you to your core.
Every once in a while you come across a story that reminds you of the reason why we're all here, and that humanity, however imperfect, is ultimately good.
This is one of those stories.
When Randi Emmans overheard a homeless man talking to himself outside of her apartment building in Los Angeles, CA several weeks ago, she decided to stop and listen.
"He was saying things like 'Everyone just stares at me. I'm an educated man, but all they see is a person who doesn't have a home and doesn't have anyone to call,'" Emmans told The Washington Post.
After hearing the man's words, Emmans went back inside and got her boyfriend, John Suazo, and they struck up a conversation with the man.
The man, whose name is Pedro Reid, was more than happy to have someone to talk to, so he told them about his life. Turns out, Reid had moved to Los Angeles in 1999 from his hometown of Charleston, S.C.
Thanks to the couple's efforts, Reid got to reunite with his cousin and uncle earlier this month...
Reid had lost his housing situation due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol and ended up on the streets. After living under a fake name, and without a home, for almost two decades, Reid had lost all hope of ever having a 'normal' life again.
Reid told the couple that he always had thoughts of reuniting with his family in Charleston, but he had lost touch with them years ago and didn't know how to contact them.
After the conversation ended, Emmans, who helps run a donation drive for the homeless every year around Christmas, gave Reid a backpack full of clothing, some essential supplies and a blanket to keep him warm.
Randi Emmans (R) and her boyfriend helped to get Reid (L) back in touch with his family after 20 years. Randi Emmans Bailyn/Facebook
Emmans and Suazo were so moved by their conversation with Reid that they decided to help him locate his family. They also started collecting donations to cover a few nights stay at a hotel room so that Reid could rest, have a few hot meals and get a shower.
In just a few days, the couple raised enough money to pay for Reid to stay in a hotel for a week. They also covered the cost of a cell phone for him and bought him some new clothes.
After "plugging away on the internet" for a few days and making some calls, Emmans and Suazo were able to locate Reid's uncle, Pierre Grant, who was more than happy to hear from them.
"John started telling me about what took place between them and Pedro, and I knew immediately he was talking about my nephew," Grant said. "For over 20 years, we had been praying and believing that one day we would find him, and the day finally came. This is a miracle."
Reid's uncle Pierre Grant (pictured on the left) flew out to bring his long lost nephew home.Randi Emmans Bailyn/Facebook
Donations covered travel costs for Grant to fly to LA to pick up his nephew, along with buying Covid-19 tests for everyone, including Emmans and Suazo. All of the tests came back negative.
Mia Green, one of Reid's cousins, also made the journey to reunite with Reid after hearing what happened.
"When I heard the news, I decided I was definitely going," she said. "Randi and John are godsent people. I don't even have words for the heart they have to stop and speak to him and then find us."
Reid's cousin Mia Green (pictured on the left) also flew out to Los Angeles to reunite with Reid. Randi Emmans Bailyn/Facebook
The reunion took place in early August, and after a lot of hugging and tears, Reid and his family shared a meal with Emmans and Suazo and spent the night in Hollywood before returning to Charleston.
Now that Reid is back with his family, he's planning to get an education and find a steady job. He also hopes to provide guidance to others who have become homeless.
The group enjoyed a meal together before Reid made the journey back to Charleston with his family. Randi Emmans Bailyn/Facebook
As for Emmans and Suazo, Reid says they'll never be forgotten.
"Their names will forever be etched on my heart," Reid said. "I'm indescribably thankful that they cared enough to get me home."