When police received a report over the weekend of a tent pitched outside of Gordon State College in Barnesville, Ga., they headed over and asked the occupant to come out with hands in sight, the Herald-Gazette reports. Fred Barley, 19, emerged, and he had an amazing story to tell—and thanks to the cops' compassionate reaction, his story became even more amazing, per WSB-TV. A homeless biology major who'd come to register for his second semester, Barley had pedaled a 20-inch bike six hours from Conyers in the scorching Georgia heat with just his tent, a few belongings, some water, and a box of cereal, setting up his tent until the dorms opened in August so he could job-hunt. The officers were stunned and brought him to a motel, where they paid for two nights.
"I could tell he was a good kid ... who had been dealt a bad hand," officer Dicky Carreker tells the Herald-Gazette. Carreker's wife posted Barley's story on a community Facebook page, and that's when things really started to change for the student. Not only does Barley now have a place to stay—the motel owner and a local resident, Casey Blaney, have paid for his stay through Monday, when the college will allow him to move into the dorms early—but he also now has a job at a local pizza joint and has been showered with gifts from strangers, including a new bike, clothes, and school supplies. Blaney also started a Success for Fred Facebook page and GoFundMe page, which has already raised more than $36,000. "More important than everything—the clothes, the shoes—the relationships mean so much more to me," Barley tells WSB. Check out his emotional thank-you video on the WSB site. (Read more uplifting news stories.)