An incredible series of events led two sisters to a reunion with their homeless brother after more than a decade apart.
And it’s all thanks a photo of the man which went viral last week.
It started when the man in question, Rocky Been, was approached by a stranger who happened to be fishing on a pier in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
The man, Matthew Cardozo, had seen Been sleeping on the pier and said he took pity on him.
“It’s not more of what I did. It’s more or less what everybody should do for someone that’s less fortunate,” Cardozo told News Channel 8 in Florida.
Cardozo struck up a conversation with Been, gave him the sweater he was wearing, and snapped a photo of him wearing it.
“He felt so sorry for me and gave me a hoodie and took a picture of me and said he was going to give it to his wife,” Been said. “I had no idea he was going to put it on Facebook.”
But that’s exactly what Cardozo did, and the resulting photo went viral after it was posted to a local Buy, Sell and Trade page.
A GoFundMe page was set up to collect donations for Been. Eventually, it raised enough money ($2,900 US of a total fundraising goal of $3,000) to put a roof over Been’s head. The manager at a local Crabby’s Bar and Grill noticed the photo and decided to give Been a job.
After four years of being homeless, his life circumstances had changed almost overnight. They were about to change again.
After Been’s story aired in the local news, he was recognized by two people – his sisters Sandra and Marti.
“I cried at work,” Marti Been told Channel 8. “And then I couldn’t even finish my day out. It was like 3:00, I don’t know what time it was, but I couldn’t finish my day out. I was just so excited to get home.”
Marti hadn’t seen her brother in more than 10 years. For their younger sister Sandra, it was almost 30 years.
“I saw him once when I was little. How old would I have been? Maybe six,” Sandra said.
The family lost touch with Been many years ago, but they say no one in the family knew he had become homeless. That is, until they saw the local news story about his sudden change of fortune.
“I was devastated, because it’s like the four years he’s been homeless,” Marti said. “That’s sad because he had no way to reaching out to us, saying, ‘Hey, I need help.’”
So on a sunny Florida beach this past Friday, the touching reunion finally took place. Been got to meet not just his sisters, but his nephews as well.
“This is overwhelming, and I never thought this would happen to me,” Been said. “I still think I’m dreaming. I’m waiting to wake up and hopefully I don’t.”
© 2016 Shaw Media