Simon Childs, a homeless man, was doing nothing more than taking a nap between his shifts at the local McDonald’s in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Unknown to Childs, a woman took a photograph of him asleep in one of the booths and, posting it on Facebook, shamed him for doing so. Little did she know that her actions would spark outrage from the community and change Childs’ life forever.
It All Started With A Question
Walking into the McDonald’s in Fayetteville, Georgia, a woman noticed someone sleeping across one of the fast-food restaurant’s booths. Finding it strange, she went up to one of the employees, asking if they knew he was there.
Their response, according to the woman, “Oh yeah, we know.” Then, she took a picture.
The Comment That Sparked Community Outrage
After taking a picture of the sleeping man, the woman went straight to Facebook, posting it to a local group on the social media platform. Her caption read, “Just another reason to leave Fayetteville.”
“I was in the McDonald’s in the middle of town, and I saw this guy sleeping in the booth. I go tell an employee that someone is asleep in their booth and her response was, “oh yeah, we know hee hee, it’s okay,” and I said, “not really but whatever.”
The Community Banded Together
To top off the comment, the woman even added an angry face emoji to the end. Little did she know that her post would spark community outrage, calling her out for shamming a man she did not know.
After learning the man’s story, the community banded together to offer him nothing but support.
The Man: Simon Childs
In the photograph, the man who was asleep was Simon Childs, an employee at the McDonald’s where he had just worked a shift and was napping before starting his second shift.
After seeing the Facebook post, a local reporter, Matt Johnson, tracked down Childs, asking him about his story and why he was asleep in the booth.
Homeless And Working To Support His Young Son
Johnson learned that Childs was actually homeless, having just lost his mother and falling on tough times. Childs also told him that even though he doesn’t have a permanent residence, he was working at the McDonald’s to help support his young son and family.
Childs was no more than 21 years old.
The Picture Hurt Childs’ Feelings
When asked about the picture the woman posted on the Facebook group, Childs was very mattered of fact. He told WSB-TV, “It kind of hurt to see my picture up there.”
Even though the picture hurt Childs’ feelings, he never thought the entire community in Fayetville would rally around to support him and his family.
He Didn’t Think Anyone Would Care. He Was Wrong
After seeing the picture on the local Facebook group and the local news coverage of Mr. Childs’ story, the community came together in the best way possible.
According to Childs, “I thought it was something negative, and nobody would care about it. I didn’t think the community would even care enough to do that, but they care.”
Donations For His Son
After seeing the ridicule and shame the woman put on Childs for nothing more than sleeping between shifts, the community gave him an outpouring of kindness.
Many people came together to donate various items for his son, such as clothing and nappies. Childs couldn’t believe it. And that wasn’t the only thing that happened.
Access To A Car And A Free Haircut
Instead of making fun of Childs for his and his son’s situation, people wanted to help. Two local chefs went as far as loaning a car to Childs so he could drive around town to job interviews.
A barbershop even offered him a free haircut, so he looked nice and sharp.
The Two Chefs Who Lent Him The Car: The Thomas Brothers
The two chefs who offered to loan Childs the car were Xavier and Theo Thomas, owners of Fusion Chefs Eatery. They both spoke to WSB-TV about the car donation and why they wanted to help.
They said, “It just touched our hearts. It definitely will help him get around and give him a better opportunity.”
Childs Was Receiving Job Offers
Childs couldn’t believe what was happening, all in response to some stranger posting a picture of him online and ridiculing him for taking a nap in a booth.
While speaking to a local news station, Childs said that he had received job offers from various locations. He was excited about the future and finding a place for his family to live.
The “Stranger-Shaming” Backfired
The photograph and post written about Childs is, unfortunately, an awful example of what the internet calls “strange-shaming.” Thankfully, the community and various social media platforms would not have it.
In fact, many have commented on the post, saying the woman’s attempt to shame Childs completely backfired. Ironically, she said shamming him wasn’t her intention.
Ridiculing The Man Wasn’t Her Intention
While off-camera with a local news station, the woman who posted the picture came forward and said shamming, ridiculing, and embarrassing Childs wasn’t her intention.
The fact of the matter is that the photograph and comment made it seem as though that was her exact reasoning for the mean post.
The Comments Started Rolling In
Even if shaming Childs wasn’t the woman’s intention, it didn’t stop the internet from criticizing her for the photograph and written post about a man she did not know.
One person commented on the post, saying, “It’s not cool to shame someone.” It was one of many comments that did not hold back their thoughts on the matter.
“You Simply Don’t Bring A Person Down…”
Other people took to the post, explaining how the woman shouldn’t have posted the image, saying she was bringing down someone who had already fallen on tough times.
One comment, in particular, said, “know how it feels to lose a mother and still [have to] deal with the rest of life. You simply don’t bring a person down when they are already down.”
Facebook Groups Dedicated To Stranger-Shaming
Sadly, Childs’ experience with the photograph isn’t how stranger-shaming typically plays out. In fact, there are many Facebook groups dedicated solely to these types of pictures, all of which do nothing but ridicule the subject of the photo.
Most of the people who are victims of undercover photography don’t receive the kindness as Childs did, instead, have to bear the viral pictures with horrible comments.
The Community Stood Together With Kindness
Thankfully, in Fayetteville, Georgia, residents took the high road and stood up for Mr. Childs when they saw what the woman had posted and written on a local Facebook group.
Even if she didn’t mean to shame Childs directly, the result was just the same. At least it brought the community together for a good cause.
Every Little Thing Helped
With the help of locals such as the two Thomas brothers and the local barber who offered Childs a fresh haircut, he has felt confident going into job interviews.
In fact, Childs had received phone calls offering him various positions, something he never thought possible a few days before the photograph incident happened.
Love Instead Of Hate
One woman, Shelia Cota, responded to reporter Matt Johnson’s post on Childs’ story, giving words of encouragement to the young father.
She wrote, “Aww, I love this story. This is the type of person we need to empower; he’s doing everything right; thank you to all of the kind people who send love instead of hate.”
“I’m Not Homeless…Thanks To Her.”
Due to the outpouring of kindness from the community, Childs is happier and more confident in his ability to provide for his son. With job offers rolling in, he believes he’ll be able to find a permanent place for them to live.
During an interview with the new station, “I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her.”