A suburban Atlanta community is rallying around a McDonald’s worker after a woman posted a photo of him sleeping between shifts.
Simon Childs, a 21-year-old father, was homeless when he learned a woman snapped a photo of him at a McDonald’s in Fayetteville, which is just south of Atlanta, and posted it on Facebook with a negative caption.
Although Childs wasn’t initially identified in the post, he told Channel 2 Action News the woman’s post hurt him.
Childs has been struggling to care for his son and juggle work while coping with the recent death of his mother.
“Everything I do, I want to work for it,” he told Channel 2.
He was sleeping between shifts at the McDonald’s at 465 N. Glynn St. when an unidentified woman snapped a photo. Channel 2 later identified the man in the photo and posted it on Twitter. The resulting story was shared hundreds of times on social media and picked up by news outlets throughout the country.
In the photo caption, the woman says:
“Just another reason for me 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 and tell an employee that someone is asleep in their booth and her response was ‘oh yeah, we know heehee, it’s ok’ and I said ‘not really but whatever.'”
Childs said he isn’t holding a grudge about the post.
“I’m not homeless, not now, thanks to her,” he said.
When Childs’ story went viral, community members funded hotel rooms, transportation, clothing and permanent shelter for him, according to a GoFundMe page created for Childs.
Dawn Williams, who identified herself as a family member, created the page, and it had attracted more than $2,220 toward a $5,000 goal, as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.
“His goal is to be able to get his own place for his family,” she said.
Fayetteville chefs Xavier Thomas and Theo Thomas, of the new Fusion Chefs Eatery at 455 Glynn St., offered to let Childs use their car whenever he needs to get to a job interview.
“It definitely will help him get around and give him a better opportunity,” Theo Thomas told Channel 2.
Mark Arnold, a barber with CuttingKings Barbershop, said to Atlanta Black Star that his wife told him Childs’ story and he was also compelled to help.
Arnold went to the Fayetteville McDonald’s in question and saw Childs standing outside of the restaurant with donated diapers in hand.
Arnold gave Childs a business card and told him to call whenever he wanted a haircut.
Childs did, and the two worked out an appointment Tuesday. Arnold said he can come back each week if he wants.
“I’m going to help him get back on his feet,” Arnold said.
The barber has been with the Fayetteville shop for about eight years, and he said he helps others whenever he can.
Once, Arnold cut the hair of a Hurricane Katrina victim who had lost his leg.
“If you’re not a giver, then who are you?” Arnold asked.
A McDonald’s representative would not say how the restaurant is responding to the incident, but the corporate team released this statement to Atlanta Black Star:
“Our top priorities are to operate a safe and clean restaurant and provide an enjoyable experience for our guests. We are looking into the situation.”