Image source: WFTS-TV
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"We weren't quite sure what to say."
A Florida officer and a case worker helped a homeless man regain his identify — and make an incredible discovery on the way.
WFTS-TV reported that John Helinski was homeless, sleeping on a cardboard box in downtown Tampa for three years.
"I just managed on my own," he told the news outlet. "Sleeping underneath the benches there and no one would see me."
He currently resides in a community housing solutions center, but won't be there for long. That's because of a discovery made as case worker Charles Inman and officer Dan McDonald helped Helinkski with his case.
"He needed to have an identification, but we couldn't get an identification without a birth certificate,” Inman told WFTS. “There was no other option to succeed. You know, the thought of putting a 62-year-old man back on the street wasn't acceptable."
After some paperwork, they helped get Helinski a driver's license and Social Security card.
That's when he made a big find at a Tampa bank — an old, forgotten bank account.
"At that time, it was Landmark Bank. Then it became Bank of America,” Helinkski told WFTS.
As it turns out, the account had been sitting for a while — and had accumulated money in it. WFTS reported that the man's Social Security checks had been pilling up inside it for years, leaving enough money for Helinkski to purchase permanent housing.
"I guess I'm exhilarated, excited, you know,” he said.
The officer and case worker were left astonished.
"I think we were both stunned. We weren't quite sure what to say,” McDonald said.
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