A filmmaker from Texas is helping to get a homeless man off the streets after being deeply moved by his poignant story.
Tyler Mann says he met a guitar-toting homeless man, identified only as Obediah, outside an Austin gas station. The pair got into a conversation, which Mann filmed.
(Watch the video of the encounter above. Warning: The clip contains some strong language.)
In the video, Obediah shares the story of his journey from a comfortable existence to a life on the streets. He explains how he was convicted of felony drug possession and after serving time, found it impossible to get a job or a place to live.
“They’ll give a pedophile an apartment before they will me because I had a drug charge,” Obediah said. “The hard part of becoming part of society again was they didn’t want me … so I just decided fuck it, I’m going to sleep in a tent, and I’m going do what I love for a living, which is playing music.”
Obediah described the challenges and discrimination he’s faced as a homeless person, including the time a woman yelled at him to get away from her when he only wanted to ask for the time.
“There are a lot of good people out there but for the most part, most people all they care about is themselves,” he said, adding: “[What makes people] so terrified of relationships and people that they just don’t want nothing to do with nobody? It’s sad.”
Obediah lamented to Mann that the world has become a place where people are seemingly glued to Facebook and the Internet, but have no time for real conversation and connection. However, he insisted that he still wants to bring a bit of brightness to the people around him, despite his hardship.
“I’m just trying to make the world a … more beautiful place,” Obediah said. “If music and art can do it, and someone appreciates it, that’s all that matters.”
Since Mann uploaded the video of his exchange with Obediah on YouTube Monday, the clip has been watched more than 770,000 times on the video sharing site and more than 8 million times on Facebook.
Mann says the meeting had a profound impact on him; he’s even been inspired to start a campaign to get Obediah off the streets.
On Tuesday, Mann launched a GoFundMe campaign in Obediah’s name. The goal is to raise $5,000 to get him started on a new life, and to show him "that people care."
“Obediah changed my life overnight,” Mann wrote on the campaign page. “So now I want to change his … C'mon Internet. Let's do this. We can get him off the streets.”
So far, more than $3,300 has been raised for Obediah. Mann told The Huffington Post over e-mail Thursday that several netizens have also offered to give Obediah a job. Some have also offered Obediah recording deals, he said.
"There are literally offers coming in from all over the world," Mann said. "People genuinely [want] to help him."
H/T Global News