Owner Debbie Adamson said she saw his story on Facebook and knew immediately that she wanted to help.
“I created a position for him before he walked in my door. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know the color of his skin. I didn’t care. I’ve been there so I guess I had a soft spot for anyone who is that determined to succeed in life,” she said.
Adamson, who’s been through several struggles in her life as well, says they plan to keep him employed and eventually teach him to cook the pizza, while working around his school schedule.
“The most shocking part is so many people coming to help a stranger, because honestly in today’s society this sounds like a scam,” Barley said about his story.
People have donated clothes, school supplies, shoes, a new bike and they are working to get him a car. People have also stepped up to take care of his dental and medical needs. Blaney created a Facebook page called Success For Fred and also started a GoFundMe page that’s raised nearly $9,000 in two days.
But Barley says despite all of that, for which he is extremely grateful, it’s the people that mean the most.
“Some of the gifts aren’t as important as the friends I’ve made. More important than everything — the clothes, the shoes — the relationships mean so much more to me,” he said.
“Some of the gifts aren’t as important as the friends I’ve made.”
One of those connections is Amber Shoemake, who lost her son Leland to a rare brain infection last year. She says she felt an instant need to help Fred.
“It’s sad because we would do anything to have our child with us, and for him to just be out there with no family, it completely broke my heart,” she said.
Barley plans to attend church with Shoemake and her family on Sunday.
He says God has been the driving force that keeps him going.
“The Bible says, ‘You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,’ so I know I can,” he said. “My legs are working. Millions of people walk and bike to work every day. I definitely think I can bike a couple hours to get to my future.”
Thursday, Barley recorded a video message to thank everyone who’s helped him.