The small town of Ninety Six, South Carolina is proof that positive changes can be made when people work together, especially when they came to the aid of Ben Richardson, a local homeless man.
Richardson wasn’t exactly known as the town teddy bear. “Many people were scared of him because he had a nasty attitude,” kindergarten teacher Lynn Sargent told WYFF-4. “When you tried to approach him, he would be unkind. He would ask for money. If you didn’t give it to him, he’d cuss at you.”
Richardson also had a nickname — Rock Man — that either came from his penchant for carrying a bag of rocks or from his drug of choice, the local affiliate reports.
Despite his seemingly icy demeanor, this small town wanted to help their neighbor get back on track. Richardson had been squatting for years in an abandoned home that had no water, electricity, or heat — which is why this small town with a population of 1,998 made it a mission to build him a new home.
To accomplish their task, they set up online donation pages and a Facebook group called “A Home For Rock Man” to collect money, supplies, and volunteers to help. After three years, they had enough resources and manpower to build a tiny home on Patterson Drive. To fill up Richardson’s new digs, locals donated everything he would need, such as kitchenware, furniture, lighting, a sink, a fridge, a toilet and more. To provide financial assistance to Richardson, a bank account was even set up for him.
“He’s beginning to trust and smile,” Sargent told WYFF-4. “He’s a different person.” She added that helping out her neighbor has changed her own outlook in life. “I realized that I had not done what I should do to love him and let him know how much God loves him, regardless of his circumstances.”
That’s a lesson that we all probably need to be reminded of from time to time.