Saddened by the sight of a homeless man pacing the streets outside his storefront in Hawaii, a business owner approached the troubled man and found out some details about him. With help, the business owner tracked down his family in Toledo, Ohio, reuniting them and giving the homeless man a chance to start over.
Tom Solie, who owns Timmy T’s Gourmet Grinders sandwich shop on downtown Honolulu’s Bishop Street, first noticed 31-year-old Adrian Haynes while building his store around three years ago.
“He always had on a black hoodie and black clothes, and he would just be sitting at the bus stop like he’s waiting for something,” Solie told The Epoch Times. “He was always on my mind. Every now and then I’d go past him and I’d say, ‘When you want to get off the street, let me know.’”
Adrian was almost nonverbal and hard to talk to, said Solie. But in September, something pushed him to try harder. “For whatever reason, God touched my heart to reach out to him a little bit more,” he explained.
Solie, who claims he avoids giving money or food to the homeless for fear of enabling, wanted to help get Adrian off the streets for good. He and his girlfriend, Susan, stocked up on clothes and food at Costco and delivered the care package to Adrian. This time, the couple asked him for his second name.
“Gaines or Hans or Hines … I couldn’t understand what he said,” Solie regaled, “so we started to search on the internet to try to figure out who he was and where he was from. I found out he was from Toledo, Ohio, and then my girlfriend and I went on Facebook and found [Toledo Missing Persons].”
The couple posted about Adrian and, within 20 minutes, Adrian’s sister-in-law replied, “That’s my little brother!” Minutes later, Solie was on the phone with Adrian’s brothers: one in Ohio, two in Arizona. His face “hurt from crying tears of joy,” he recalled, knowing help was on the way.
The brothers flew out a week later. Solie brought the siblings straight from the airport to meet Adrian. However, he recalls that Adrian just sat there with no excitement in interacting with his siblings.
Adrian Haynes was a U.S. Army veteran. After serving in Afghanistan, he told his family he was moving to Hawaii, then cut himself off from all communication. Adrian’s elder brother, Earl Moses, filed a missing person’s report and the family feared that he’d died, according to Hawaii News Now.
According to Solie, the Army vet could have been attending school in Hawaii but ended up in hospital. Upon discharge, his belongings had been moved out of his shared apartment and he had nowhere to stay.
Adrian’s poor mental health prevented him from going back with his family. However, the siblings, with the support of the Institute for Human Services, are filing an appeal for guardianship to bring their loved one home.
“He was just an all-around good dude. He never so much as smoked a cigarette,” Moses told Hawaii News Now. “We’re going to do whatever we got to do to get him some help.”
Speaking to The Epoch Times, Solie lamented, “Trying to help one guy is beyond frustrating; he is clearly mentally ill. Anyone who is dressed in black with the hood up, standing in the Hawaiian sun day after day, nonverbal, living on the street for years on end, is lost and needs to be guided home.”
A month since Adrian reunited with his family, he is still living on the streets of Honolulu. Yet Solie has seen a change in the troubled veteran, from the slow-walking “zombie” of years past to someone who walks with “a little bit more of a purpose.”
While deeply frustrated by the red tape involved in helping Adrian, Solie implores others to do what they can for people in need.
“All it took was a little bit of effort by me to find out his last name, and where he’s from, and then I got his family together,” he explained. “When you’re sleeping on garbage bags every day, sitting in the Hawaii sun every day, it’s no way for anyone to live … something needs to be done to make it easier to help these people.”
He further urged others that if they happen to see someone during their regular routine and they happen to be on their mind, to just have a conversation and find out anything they can about them. Asking them if they would like to get off the street, and making them aware that you would do anything to help them can go a long way.
“All of a sudden, our world becomes a little bit better because you tried to help someone,” Solie said.
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Louise Bevan is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.
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