John Goodman of Rochester, New York, was supposed to be out of town the day he stumbled upon a surprise he’ll never forget. After what happened that fateful day, he believes he was at home for a reason.
On April 29, Goodman thought a homeless person had camped out in his yard, WHEC reports.
"I'm like 'My man get up,'" Goodman recalled to the news station. "She was like knocked out asleep. She was just lying there."
After looking closer, he realized that person was a child.
"She came up out of her sweater and peeked her head out and I saw her hair and I said, 'Oh my god, that's a little girl," he said.
The child, who is 12 years old, told him she had run away after an issue at school and had slept in the yard overnight. She was not wearing any shoes and she said she hadn't gone home because her feet were injured.
Goodman brought the girl inside to give her some shoes and something to eat. While speaking on the phone with a friend, he mentioned the child.
"I said, 'I just found a little girl in my backyard,'" Goodman recalled of the conversation. "She said, 'Oh my God, they said a little girl was missing on Facebook.'"
His friend sent a screenshot of the Facebook post, and Goodman called the phone numbers and managed to contact her grandparents. He met the grandfather on May 2.
"They went and they got her like he said," Dunstan Luke, the girl’s grandfather, said. "And I'm still trying to come up with a way to show this man my gratitude."
Relatives had searched for the child for several hours prior to Goodman’s phone call.
"Just the relief and the joy that we feel right now," Luke said. "I'm having a hard time -- her sisters and them, they just sat down and cried."
On his Facebook page, Goodman noted how happy he was to reunite the child with her family.
“The look her family gave me when I returned her put a Glo on my Heart!” he wrote in the April 30 post.
"I love the kids," Goodman told WHEC. "That made me feel like that could be one of mine -- one of my nieces, one of my little girls. And I can't have that; that's not cool."
The girl is reportedly doing well following the incident.