John Helinski had his identity stolen. This forced him to become homeless on the Tampa Bay, Florida streets for three years. He felt invisible and left behind during this time, until the kindness of strangers changed everything.
John Helinski is an American citizen living in Florida, but he had been born in Poland. So, when his identity was stolen he could not prove his true identity without a birth certificate. A birth certificate that he did not have. He was forced to live on the streets for three years without being able to prove he was the real John Helinski.
“I just managed on my own. I remember having a cardboard box and sleeping by the bus stop. Sleeping underneath the benches there and no one could see me,” John Helinski admitted to ABC Action News.
He felt invisible to the world around him until he met Charles Inman.
Charles Inman is a case worker at the Community Housing Solutions Center in Hillsborough County, Florida. Helinksi found his first refuge in three years at the center. It is open 24/7 for the homeless community in Tampa Bay and its surrounding cities. Helinksi never imagined how drastically his life was about to change once stepping in those doors.
Charles Inman went above and beyond his job requirements to help Helinksi start his life anew.
“He needed to have an identification, but we couldn’t get an identification without his birth certificate … There was no other option than to succeed,” Charles Inman explained to ABC Action News.
To succeed, Inman and Helinksi needed reinforcements and they found that in Tampa Bay Police Officer Dan McDonald.
The determination of Inman and McDonald was unwavering. They were able to succeed in giving John Helinksi his identity back. Helinksi was able to have his driver’s license and social security number rightfully back in his name for the first time in three years. These two official identifying documents were able to help Helinksi get his life back.
Inman and McDonald helped Helinksi in his first step to regain his identity and life back.
John Helinksi was excited to officially have his identity back, but he was about to have the surprise of his life.
John Helinksi had a previous bank account before his identity theft. The bank had changed names multiple times over the years and Helinksi believed it to be gone, just like everything else had been. Yet, the bank was account was not gone. The bank account was still active and it was more than active. It was still receiving John Helinksi’s Social Security benefit payments throughout the years he was homeless.
John did not only have his identity back but he had a bank account full of money too.
The money was able to let John Helinksi afford permanent housing. He was homeless no more.
“… I am exhilarated, excited, you know?” John told ABC Action News.
John had felt invisible while being homeless for three years. It was out of his control that his identity was stolen and it left him feeling helpless. Yet, through the kindness of two strangers he realized that he was never invisible. He just had not found the strangers yet that were willing to step up and help him.
Case manager Charles Inman and police officer Dan Mcdonald completely turned Helinksi’s life around through the kindness of their hearts and their unwavering dedication to help a stranger in his time of need.
Watch the uplifting story in full right below.
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