Indianapolis man Johnny Servantez knew he needed to jump to action last week when he saw a starving homeless man on the side of a busy road.
In an attempt to get help, Servantez took to Facebook to post a photo of the shirtless man sitting slumped over the grass outside a popular flea market near Thompson Road and Madison Avenue.
Servantez wrote that the man appeared to be starving, and that he knew he had to stop and offer him some money. He wrote on Facebook:
“I had to give this poor guy some money. I NEVER give panhandlers money because they are 99.9% b*******. But this guy’s stomach was hitting his back and ribs popping out. If you are at Thompson and Madison…throw him a buck or two at least. The man isn’t that f****** skinny by choice. I’ve seen skinny drug addicts. And this man is suffering from starvation.”
The heartbreaking image instantly went viral, gaining more than a thousand shares.
And soon enough, dozens of people joined together to try and locate the sickly homeless man, according to ABC 10. Some created Facebook groups, while others scanned the streets to find the man and give him assistance.
That’s when the man’s own brother, Danny Rhodes, recognized him from the heart-wrenching photo. He told WRTV:
“Seeing this picture, this is the first sight I’ve seen of my brother since the day we buried my mother. He didn’t look like this then.”
Danny hadn’t seen his brother, Johnny Rhodes, for more than seven years. He said after his mother’s death, Johnny got into drugs and alcohol. But he knew it was time to find him:
“When I saw this this morning, I’ve been sick every since. It increased my motivation to find him about 1,000 percent.”
And on Monday, he finally reunited with his brother.
Amy Renae Smith, a local woman who helped lead the charge to find Johnny, posted a touching update on Tuesday. She wrote in the Facebook group “Team Johnny Rhodes:”
“He had two meals, a hit [sic] shower, a pair of clean clothes, a room to himself with quiet, a king size bed, tv w/ cable, fridge, a microwave, Pepsi, & leftovers. He is safe, and resting.”
Danny spoke with Johnny by phone, but they did not meet in person. Danny shared on Facebook that his brother decided to return to the streets, instead of heading to a homeless shelter.
Danny is just trying to find a way to help his brother who seemingly is choosing to stay on the streets. He told Dearly that “five years of continuous homelessness” have been rough on his brother:
“Between the Indianapolis community rallying around this cause to the deeds of good Samaritans, Johnny may have a chance. But it may not end well as my brother is in bad shape. The effects of long-term drug and alcohol addiction has taken its toll.”
For now, he remains unsure about his brother’s future.