The story of homeless man Edward Kingery is going viral and touching the hearts of readers across the country because, despite his predicament, he repeatedly refused a generous gift from a woman who had heard about his situation via WISN 12 News.
Earlier this week, WISN 12 News gave their viewers a heartbreaking look at how Edward Kingery spends most of his nights in freezing temperatures. After the story aired, there was a tremendous outpouring of support from social media and many people called and emailed the news outlet newsroom seeking information on how they can help the homeless man.
As the news station explained in their report, Edward Kingery’s life took a turn for the worse and he became homeless after losing his long-time job and experiencing the death of several of his family members.
Kingery now lives in a tent under a bridge battling severe weather conditions and other obstacles every night.
“Yeah, we don’t have much,” Kingery said. “I’m freezing half to death every night. What I do at night is I wrap myself in as many sleeping bags as I can,” he explained to Tim Elliot of WISN 12 News. “It’s cold down here at night, man, it really is and especially on top of concrete.”
When Karyn Oberlander heard of Kingery’s dire situation, she immediately wanted to meet him to lend a helping hand. Upon seeing the homeless man, she greeted him with a hug and a gift.
“That was awesome, I mean I felt that hug and I’m just really glad that I was able to make him feel that way,” Oberlander was quoted as saying. “To want to hug me and hug me that hard and that tight.”
Oberlander’s gift to the homeless man was a $100 Visa gift card and a $20 bus card. Although Kingery initially declined the woman’s generous gift, Oberlander was intent on helping and insisted that he accept it.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Kingery said after receiving the gift. “My heart is just joyful.”
Oberlander was especially moved by Kingery’s story because she was also homeless for 10 years.
“You know I’ve been homeless, too,” she said, holding back tears. “So that kind of touched home with me too, you know I’ve been there. Especially in the winter time like this, it’s even worse.”
She also told reporters that she reached out to Kingery because she wanted to set an example for her two sons and show them not to judge a book by its cover and to realize homeless people are people too.
“The stigma of homeless people being “bad” or “alcoholics” or “drug addicts” is not always the case,” Oberlander explained.