Stranger Posts Photo of Starving Homeless Man, Never Expected It Would Reunite a Family

August 8, 2019 Updated: August 14, 2019

Johnny Servantez simply thought he was highlighting the plight of a homeless man by posting his photo online. The man, Johnny Rhodes, was panhandling outside a flea market in Indianapolis. But as it turned out, Rhodes had been missing to his family for seven years, and Servantez’s photo helped reunite a devastated family.

I had to give this poor guy some money. I NEVER give panhandlers money because they are 99.9% bullshit. But this guy's…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Johnny Servantez‎‏ في السبت، ٢٣ سبتمبر ٢٠١٧

“I had to give this poor guy some money,” Servantez wrote on Facebook, adding that he never usually does but something about Rhodes provoked his sympathy. Rhodes was emaciated. “This guy’s stomach was hitting his back and ribs popping out,” Servantez wrote, frankly. “This man is suffering from starvation.”

The flea market owners, who always ensured that the homeless man had water when he sat outside the market, confirmed that Rhodes was a regular on the lawn outside the establishment. “He just comes and sits and panhandles and doesn’t bother anybody,” they said.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Johnny Servantez‎‏ في الثلاثاء، ٩ فبراير ٢٠١٦

After Servantez posted his sad and shocking photo online, it was shared over 1,000 times before capturing the attention of Rhodes’s brother Danny. Danny was both relieved and distraught at the sight of his brother and the devastating effect of the seven years that had separated them. “This is the first sight that I’ve seen of my brother since the day we buried my mother,” Danny told WRTV. “He didn’t look like this then.”

“I’ve been sick ever since,” Danny told the news channel, explaining how it felt to hold the picture of his brother outside the flea market in his hands. “It increased my motivation to find him about a thousand percent.” Danny promised a roof over his brother’s head, food, and the medical attention he so urgently needed, if only he could find him.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Danny Rhodes‎‏ في الاثنين، ٢٥ سبتمبر ٢٠١٧

“I want him to be okay,” the stricken brother continued.

It was a woman named Amy Renae Smith who made it happen. Though Smith did not know the Rhodes family, she was nonetheless touched by the brothers’ separation. She set up a Facebook page, “Searching for Johnny Rhodes,” where people could share sightings and ideas for locating Rhodes.

Smith also filed a missing person report with police. “I felt like we should give him every opportunity to be located faster,” she said. “Sooner than later, and the more people involved the better.”

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Danny Rhodes‎‏ في الأحد، ٢٦ نوفمبر ٢٠١٧

On Sept. 25, 2017, to everybody’s relief, Rhodes was located and reunited with his long-suffering brother. Danny posted photos to commemorate their reunion.

The next day, Smith posted an update for everybody concerned with the homeless man’s whereabouts. “He had two meals, a hot shower, a pair of clean clothes, a room to himself with quiet, a king size bed, tv w/ cable, fridge, a microwave, Pepsi, & leftovers,” she listed. “He is safe, and resting.”


After an emotional reunion with family, Rhodes actually decided to turn down Danny’s offer of continued support in favor of going it alone. Danny pledged to continue reaching out to his brother and showed immense gratitude to the people who rallied together to identify Rhodes and bring him home.

“When or if the day comes that Johnny is ready for help, he will seek out help,” Danny shared.

A Facebook photo of a homeless man, possibly suffering from starvation, helped a family reunite with their loved one after seven years.

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎RTV6 (WRTV – Indianapolis)‎‏ في الاثنين، ٢٥ سبتمبر ٢٠١٧

Closure is priceless; the selflessness of a passerby and the benevolence of an internet community achieved extraordinary things for the Rhodes family. Johnny Rhodes now knows where the help is if he needs it, and the proof is undeniable—missing persons can be found.

Where there is a will (and social media!), there is a way.