An elementary school principal from Alabama has garnered praise for helping a homeless man he spotted looking through the trash for food.
Principal John Brantley shared his story on Facebook, explaining that he noticed the man as he was leaving Best Buy on Sept. 15.
“As I walked to my car I watched him as he reached in the garbage can and pulled out fast food trash bags and inspected all that was in the thrown away bags,” Brantley wrote. “He did this for several minutes. He would find a few fries in one bag and a bite or two of a hamburger in another bag. You can see the hamburger wrapper by his knee where he was placing the food items he'd found.”
Brantley went on to say that the entire time the man was searching for food, he never attempted to stop anyone or beg for money.
“I am not someone who just hands out money or even helps homeless people because so many are not truly homeless,” Brantley wrote. “I don't guess I've ever seen someone actually go through a garbage can to try to find food to eat. I knew I had to help him.”
Brantley then asked the man if he could buy him a meal.
“He told me he would appreciate anything I could get him,” Brantley said. "He was on a bike and I told him if he'd follow me I'd buy him a meal at the fast food place around the block. He followed me and I bought him the biggest meal they had on the menu. The only request he gave me for his order was if I could get him a big glass of sweet tea to go with his meal!"
The man, who introduced himself as Steve, later told Brantley he became homeless last year after his sister died. He was attempting to get off the streets, but had yet to succeed.
“When I got back in my car, I drove off with such a heaviness in my heart for this man,” Brantley continued. “I drove down the road and felt compelled to go back to help this man.
"When I came back he had finished his meal and was riding away. I pulled up beside him and asked him if there was any way I could help him. He told me not really. He never asked me for money. I asked him if I could buy him a few meals and put it on a gift card for him. He told me that would be so kind.
"I drove to McDonald's and bought him some meals and gave him a gift card."
Steve, stunned by Brantley’s kind gesture, broke down and began telling him more of his story. He revealed that he had cancer, and that he wasn’t sure he’d be around much longer.
“He was tired of being in pain and he would be better off dead because this was no life - living this way,” Brantley wrote. "I stayed and encouraged him for a few minutes trying to fight back my tears."
Brantley said his wish was that something he said to Steve gave him hope.
“When I left him, I knew I had done what God wanted me to do! God put him in my path today...I know he did!” Brantley wrote. "I've never felt such a feeling to help someone as I did today. I was reminded again of how blessed I am! I have a vehicle that gets me from place to place, I have a roof over my head, clean clothes, money to buy a hot meal, running water, electricity, my health, a job, family, and friends!"
“Sometimes God sends situations our way to remind us of how blessed we are! If you've read this far, please remember Steve in your prayers!”