In April 2017, Michael Hansen came across a homeless man sleeping on the street and bent down to give him some money. Then he recognized the man: "It was my best friend from elementary school all through high school," Hansen tells KSL. Namely, Korey Hathaway, who at the time had been without a home for five years as he struggled with drug addiction after breaking his hand in a construction accident and moving from pain meds to heroin. Candice Madsen, a producer for KSL, was walking by as the friends shared pizza on the sidewalk; they asked her to take a picture and shared their story. She ultimately produced a piece for the TV station about their reunion 14 years after they'd last seen one another.
Hansen worked to help Hathaway get off the streets; in 2018, Hathaway was hospitalized for months for heart, lung, and kidney failure. Hansen wasn't sure his friend would live, but as he offered his friend a blessing at the hospital, he suddenly knew Hathaway could survive. "Michael came and gave me a blessing and it's been going uphill ever since," Hathaway says, adding that Hansen was "the only thing that pulled me out" of the rock bottom he'd hit. He recovered, with the support of others including family members—like his son. "I've been trying to make it up to him. Spend as much time with him as I can," he says. "Before it was Korey. Now I'm Dad." The lifelong friends, plus Madsen, recently returned to the spot where Hansen and Hathaway reunited to give KSL an update; watch it here. (Read more uplifting news stories.)