Safety Harbor community helps homeless man get back on his feet
SAFETY HARBOR (FOX 13) - A homeless man in Safety Harbor just learned how many people are rooting for him to succeed after a big surprise from neighbors.
Fred Smith, 44, said he blames himself for ending up on the streets.
"Drugs is what brought me down. I lost my job and stuff like that. I had a rough life," he told FOX 13 News. "It's a struggle. I mean, living on the streets is just a big struggle."
But in the last few years, Smith has found some stability, cutting grass for about 15 homeowners, including Scott Johnson.
Smith was using a borrowed lawn mower and recently told Johnson he saved up $70 to buy a new one. Johnson said he wanted to help Smith find an inexpensive one, so he asked his Facebook friends.
"As soon as they heard the story about this man wanting to better himself and make it on his own, people were saying, 'can I give him a lawn mower? Can I give him a weed whacker? Can I give him a leaf blower? Can I give him money?'" Johnson recalled of the comments his Facebook friends left on the post.
Johnson's friends came through on their promises. He began collecting donations and surprised Smith with them last week. He recorded Smith's reaction on his cell phone.
"People like seeing somebody try to make it on their own and they want to help with that," Johnson said.
"I felt blessed, and I thank God, and I want to thank everybody that helped me," Smith offered.
The donations didn't stop there. A GoFundMe page was created to continue helping Smith, who has been staying with his girlfriend's aunt, find a new place to live.
"I'm ready to turn my life around and just start living right, doing the... right thing. And I'm just happy about it," he added.