Homeless Teen Bikes Six Hours To School To Be A Future Doctor

homeless teen

(photo from WSB TV Atlanta, wsbtv.com)

For many of us who’ve been through college, we know all too well just how broke we can be. From eating ramen noodles daily to not washing our clothes until it’s absolutely necessary, college life can bring a different set of survival skills.

But teen Fred Barley takes determination and survival skills to a whole ‘nother level.

Officers found the teen sleeping in a tent over the weekend outside a local college after he spent all day job-searching. Instead of giving him a ticket for trespassing, or worse the officers did something amazing: they listened to his story.

Barley, a homeless college student, told the officers he rode his little brother’s bike six hours from Conyers to Barnesville to register for classes for his second semester of college. He had two duffel bags carrying all he owned and 2 gallons of water as he rode through the heat of a Georgia summer.

According to 2010 statistics, there are approximately 53,000 homeless teens each year.  And they make up 38% of the overall homeless population. Every year, approximately 5,000 homeless young people will die because of assault, illness, or suicide while trying to survive.

The only problem with Barley being eager to get to school is that Gordon State College campus dorms don’t open until August. So, not being one to be deterred by a little set back, Barley pitched a tent in some bushes on campus and prepared to spend the next few weeks there, with nothing more than a box of cereal to eat.

The biology major, who dreams of being a doctor one day, told the officers he thought the bushes on campus would be a much safer place for him to sleep than staying in his tent in Conyers.

“We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay.”

“He was so understanding and he said, ‘I definitely I applaud you for doing this. We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay,’” Barley told Channel 2 Action News.

homeless teen bike

(The bike that Barley rode 6 hours to school on. (photo courtesy of WSB screenshot)

With a kind heart, the officers took him to a local motel and paid for his next two nights.

“The stuff that’s happening with police officers, I am black and he didn’t care what color I was. He just helped me, and that meant a lot,” Barley said.

The officer’s wife posted the story on a Barnesville community Facebook page and literally hundreds of people stepped in and stepped up to help.

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“I was shocked by how much support people will give from Lamar County and counties all over and even people from across the country that I’ve never met just wanted to help so much in my life. I was just so shocked and grateful,” Barley said.

Now, his hotel room was paid for until he can get into the dorms, which are allowing him to move in early — on Monday. A local pizzeria, DB’s Pizzeria, hired him on as a dishwasher.

“I can’t even begin to some up with half the words to express my thanks. All of this has been overwhelming…