At just 19 years old, Fred Barley has proven he knows what he wants out of life and he’ll do anything to make it happen.
Officers found the teen sleeping in a tent over the weekend outside a local college. Instead of giving him a ticket for trespassing, the officers listened to his story – and that’s where this amazing story begins.
Barley, a homeless college student, told the officers he had ridden his little brother’s bike six hours from Conyers to Barnesville to register for classes for his second semester of college. He had two duffel bags carrying all he owned and 2 gallons of water as he rode through the heat of a Georgia summer.
Problem is, the Gordon State College campus dorms don’t open until August, so Barley pitched a tent in some bushes on campus and prepared to spend the next few weeks there, with nothing more than a box of cereal to eat.
Barley spent the day job-searching and had just returned to his tent Saturday night when officers responded to a report of someone sleeping in a tent on campus. They told Barley to come out with his hands up, but the officers quickly realized that something wasn’t right. They sat down with Barley, who told them his story.
The biology major, who dreams of going to medical school one day, told the officers he thought the bushes on campus would be a much safer place for him to sleep than staying in his tent in Conyers.
“We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay.”
“He was so understanding and he said, ‘I definitely I applaud you for doing this. We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay,’” Barley told Channel 2 Action News.
Without a second thought, the officers took him to a local motel and paid for his next two nights.
“The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am black and he didn’t care what color I was. He just helped me, and that meant a lot,” Barley said.
That could be the end of this story, but it was only just the beginning.
The officer’s wife posted the story on a Barnesville community Facebook page and hundreds of people — including Casey Blaney — stepped up to help.
“I was shocked by how much support people will give from Lamar County and counties all over and even people from across the country that I’ve never met just wanted to help so much in my life. I was just so shocked and grateful,” Barley said.
“People from across the country that I’ve never met just wanted to help so much in my life. I was just so shocked and grateful.”
Blaney and the motel owner paid for him to stay in his room until he can get into the dorms, which are allowing him to move in early — on Monday. A local pizzeria, DB’s Pizzeria, hired him on as a dishwasher.
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