Jim Glasgow noticed something on a trip to Goodwill in late December of 2017 – a young man named Fredrick White purchasing an armful of coats. Glasgow felt compelled to ask White why he was buying so many jackets, and the reason was touching, to say the least.
Mom-of-four and amateur photographer Haley Stewart was the one to share Glasgow’s story –he’s her father. As Stewart wrote on Facebook, she “[tries her] best to take amazing photos,” although this time it would be her dad who took an unforgettable pic.
Glasgow was perusing the Canton, Ohio, Goodwill store in December of 2017. And when he lined up to pay, he noticed someone. The young man, White, was carrying a pile of coats that he was about to purchase.
Curiosity then got the better of Glasgow, who had to ask White why he was buying so many jackets. As a result, Glasgow found out that the 19-year-old, who works as a welder with Ohio Gratings Inc., had been inspired to buy the items by an unlikely source.
That source was a Facebook post by Shakira Rochelle that had received close to 10,000 shares and some 2,500 likes. Images showed her and other volunteers hanging coats around Covington, Kentucky, with notes telling those who found them to take the items if they were in need of winter gear.
One of the many thousands of people to share Rochelle’s post was White. He did so on December 28, along with the words “Aw, I want to do this.” And the very next day, Stewart shared the photo of the 19-year-old in the process of buying a pile of coats at a Goodwill store.
For White, though, it was more than just the Facebook post that had inspired him. “Basically, when I was younger, we really didn’t have much money, so it wasn’t like every year we could just go out and get a new coat,” he told WKYC.
White went on to add, “I had to just kind of stick with what I had.” Now, though, White had the potential to help – and he decided to act upon it. “I’m just being somebody who I needed when I was younger, helping others out and giving back,” he explained.
So, on the day when he met Glasgow, the 19-year-old had, in his own words, “woke up, got dressed, came in and just started selecting coats.” In all, he chose six different jackets that would cost him $65.
But little did White know that, as he paid, Glasgow snapped a photo of the teenager and his pile of jackets. Glasgow then passed the photo onto his daughter, Stewart, who shared it to her Facebook account and to another page on the social media site, Love What Matters.
“My dad saw this amazing young man buying $65 in coats for the homeless,” Stewart wrote on Love What Matters. “We don’t know who you are, sir, but you deserve recognition! Keep being an amazing person.”
“A very sweet and kind young man,” Stewart went on. “My dad snapped his photo while shopping, after asking him what the coats were for, and it really touched his heart. We need more people like him in this world.”
And with that, White’s actions went viral. Stewart’s personal post garnered more than 600 reactions, while Love What Matters’ share racked up in excess of 10,000. In addition, one of the people who saw Stewart’s image was a friend of White’s, who tagged him in the photo to reveal his identity.
And that, of course, meant that White saw the photo, too. “I was at work and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, they snapped a picture of me,’” he said. Those who knew the 19-year-old weren’t surprised to hear about his good deed, though.
And people who were just hearing White’s story for the first time also found his actions to be moving. Martha Edwards, who had worked at the Canton Goodwill for five years, told WKYC, “More young adults should be inspired by him. He’s amazing.”
Eventually, White’s story was covered by local news outlets – and as a result the team at Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio heard about it. Vice president of marketing and fund development Maureen Ater then gave White a $200 giftcard for the store, a thank you for the kindness he’d shown towards the homeless community.
Stewart told Fox 8 that she and her father couldn’t believe how many people had been moved by Glasgow’s image and Stewart’s Facebook post. “It just kept getting shared over and over. It’s pretty neat,” she said.
But Stewart and Glasgow were most overjoyed about the fact that a happy story had broken through the fray. “Not many things making the news in Canton are good things. So this has been a fun adventure for us, especially my dad. He was really excited over it,” Stewart said.
As for White, he handed out his stack of coats to needy individuals before donating the remaining jackets to a church. He told Fox 8 that the fact that his story had spread had left him with a “really good feeling.”
“It makes me feel like it’s going to make an even bigger change for people. Like, ‘Oh, he did it, so now I should,’” White explained to WKYC. He then offered everyone a piece of simple advice on how to get started. “Just wake up and do something different,” he said. “One good deed for each person.”