HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – There has been an outpouring of support for the homeless man assaulted inside a West End fast-food restaurant in December.
Minutes after reporter Jon Burkett’s story aired, CBS 6 started receiving calls from people wanting to help.
Crystal Richards said after seeing the interview with James Franklin and hearing about the wear and tear on his shoes, she started brainstorming ways she could help.
Accordingly, she took to Facebook and posted a message challenging her friends to help. Those generous souls came through in a big way. In fact, she had 22 messages by 6:30 a.m.
The small army of strangers wanted to help Franklin, who was beaten down in life, and also attacked inside a West End McDonald's nearly two weeks ago.
Earlier this week, police arrested Ferrum College football player Rashaan Bates and a 17-year-old juvenile. It is still unclear if the young men, who were charged with assault, were possibly playing the knockout game.
Bates, who was released on bond, was ordered to have no contact with the other juvenile involved in the case.
Richards said word of the attack struck a nerve and that felt she had to do something.
"It touched my heart and to hear what had happened,” Richards said. “And when he said he was looking, but nobody would hire him due to him being homeless, I just reached out to Facebook.”
Franklin, who met with Richards Friday afternoon, said he was overjoyed and touched by her generosity.
It is something to smile about after he was barely able to sleep over the past few days because of the bitter cold temperatures. How he will have a place to lay his head.
"I've got some money to put you in a hotel,” Richards told Franklin. “I’ve got donations to get you some shoes and some work clothes and get you back on track so you can get back on your feet."
Ironically, Richards’ friend manages a McDonald’s and vowed to put him to work Monday morning.
Franklin humbly accepted.