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Homeless college student’s inspirational story goes viral

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Fred Barley (WSB-TV)

BARNESVILLE, Ga. — The story of a Georgia teenager’s hard work and dedication is going viral.

19-year-old Fred Barley is a homeless college student who was discovered by campus police sleeping in a tent outside of Gordon State College, WSB-TV reports.

He explained to the officers that he had biked for six hours from Conyers to Barnesville in the Georgia heat to register for classes, carrying two duffel bags full of his belongings and 2 gallons of water.

Barley had pitched a tent on campus, preparing to spend the next few weeks there until the dorms opened in August when he was met by the officers one night after returning to the tent from job-hunting. He explained that setting up camp in Barnesville was safer for him than Conyers.

The officers decided not to ticket him for trespassing, choosing to help the biology major, instead.

“He was so understanding and he said, ‘I definitely applaud you for doing this. We can’t allow you to stay here, but I have somewhere you can stay,'” Barley recounted, according to WSB-TV.

The officers then took Barley to a local motel and paid for his next two nights.

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

One officer’s wife posted the story on a Barnesville community Facebook page, where it began to spread, eventually culminating in a GoFundMe page that raised over $30,000 for Barley in just three days.

“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,” Barley said. “I was just so shocked and grateful.”

Since then, Barley has been hired as a dishwasher at a local pizzeria and has received school supplies, new shoes and a bike from donors. A group is also working to get him a car.

Barley recorded a message on Thursday to thank everyone who had helped him.