Unfortunately, the word “homeless” is often synonymous with “invisible” these days, as those living on the streets are overlooked and starved of human contact.
But when Randi Emmans heard a man voicing his frustrations outside her Los Angeles apartment, she didn’t avert her eyes and walk past him — she listened and made a connection. Now, thanks to her, he’s the happiest he’s been in decades!
The stranger, Pedro Reid, touched Randi’s heart with his words.
“He was saying out loud, ‘Imagine no one ever stopping and saying hello,'” she wrote. “‘Everyone just stares. But no one knows how educated I am, how intelligent I am, all they see is a man who doesn’t have a home and doesn’t have anyone to call.'”
So Randi brought her boyfriend, John Suazo, with her down to the street, where they asked Pedro about his life. They discovered he had moved from Charleston, South Carolina, to Los Angeles in 1999, after which his struggles with drugs and alcohol left him homeless.
The 54-year-old hadn’t seen his family in more than 20 years. To complicate matters, he went by the alias Franklin Mitchell and didn’t have an ID, which made it nearly impossible for his loved ones to find him.
Moved by his story, Randi, who runs a homeless charity, gave Pedro a backpack filled with food, water, and other essentials. Still, she wanted to do more.
She put out a call for donations on Facebook so they could set Pedro up in a hotel and reunite him with his family. Just three days later, they raised $6,500!
Then, armed with names and his grandmother’s address, the couple scoured the Internet for clues. After finding and calling multiple wrong numbers, they hit the jackpot when Pedro’s uncle, Pierre Grant, called them back!
“John started telling me about what took place between them and Pedro, and I knew immediately he was talking about my nephew,” Pierre told The Washington Post. “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.”
Thanks to all the donations they received, Randi and John were able to fly Pierre and Pedro’s cousin, Mia Green, out for an emotional reunion on August 7.
After catching up and having dinner with Randi and John, the relatives headed back to Charleston the next day.
Pedro moved in with his aunt and uncle — and finally got his chance to start over! Of course, he’ll never forget the couple who turned his life around with a little kindness.
“Their names will forever be etched on my heart,” Pedro said. “I’m indescribably thankful that they cared enough to get me home.”
“He touched our hearts forever and we’re going to miss him,” Randi added. “We cannot wait to see what this chapter holds for him.”
Now, she hopes their story will encourage more people to stop and listen when they see someone living on the streets.
“It’s what [Pedro] said made the difference to him every day — the people that acknowledged him kept him going and made him feel like someday he wouldn’t be so lonely,” she wrote.
What an unlikely reunion! We’re so glad Pedro is back home where he belongs, surrounded by all the love in the world.
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