If you’ve ever felt like a nobody, wait until you hear the story of John Helinski, the 62-year-old man who had been living in a cardboard box by a bus stop in Tampa, Florida, for over three years when fortune finally smiled on him. But it wasn’t blind luck that turned his life around, or at least, not in the traditional sense. The twist of fate came in a human form.
No Proof Of Identity
When John Helinski got robbed, all his identification documents were stolen. Being originally from Poland and with no family, it was practically impossible for him to prove his identity. As a result, he was denied temporary housing at Florida’s Community Housing Solutions Center. John was trapped in a vicious cycle too many in the homeless population are consumed by. He needed a miracle, and luckily for him, he stumbled upon not one, but two miracle workers. And they brought him a miracle all right, far more sensational than anything John could have wished for.
A caseworker by the name of Charles Inman, who works with community health provider DACCO, couldn’t turn a blind eye like most. And neither could Tampa Police Department Officer Daniel McDonald. Those two took the old phrase “going the extra mile” to a whole new level. But that by far doesn’t mean their task was easy.
Challenges Early On
“This situation looked really difficult, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to end up,” Inman said at first. But he wasn’t going to give up. “There was no other option than to succeed,” he continued.
With the help of officer McDonald, Inman was able to get a copy of John’s birth certificate. From there, the two “vigilantes” managed to obtain copies of the homeless man’s social security number and driving license. When the three went to inquire about John’s benefits, it turned out he had never stopped receiving them. All along, they had been going to a bank account he had forgotten about since the branch had changed names. “It was Landmark Bank, then became Bank America,” John explains.
A Fresh Start
With the benefits accumulating over the years, the bank account had enough to provide John permanent housing and turn his life around. “He has the money now to move into his own home,” McDonald says. “He deserves it. He’s a very good, sweet and genuine man.” McDonald and Inman went above and beyond to help John without a clue their role would have such tangible results, which makes their actions all the more admirable. And for those who say miracles exist only in movies, John would probably beg to differ.
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