Homeless man finds hope, opportunity in bottle

(KGO)
December 26, 2012 6:10:13 PM PST
An East Bay man sent a message in a bottle with a promise to give a gift to the finder. The sender wanted to see how just far the bottle would travel, then a homeless man discovered the bottle and it took the sender on a journey he never could have imagined.

Dan Jones spent the day after Christmas continuing to give. He gave a brand new coat and warm lunch to a homeless man named J. "I really appreciate this. I really do. It's a godsend," J said. It's all the result of one little idea Dan had on December 2. He wanted to give someone and their family a Christmas gift, free tickets to the Oakland Zoo. So, he put a message in a bottle with a note for whoever found it to text him. "And, I just brought it down to the creek and I flung it in the creek," he told ABC7 News.

The bottle traveled a few miles, eventually landing in a creek behind the Sports Authority on Concord Avenue. J was back there looking for recycling bottles to trade for money. He says he's never found such a valuable bottle. "It has a note in it," J said acknowledging, "Yes, I carry it."

"I asked them, instead of the tickets, what if I was to get some food?" J continued. And, Dan and his friends have given more than just food. They've given new shoes, warm clothes, Christmas party leftovers, and more. They even secured a used bicycle for J, but someone stole it Christmas night. "Yeah, a lot of this story breaks my heart. What are you going to do, though? All you can do is the best you can do," Dan said.

Dan needs help to get J back on his feet, but J wants people to know he doesn't want a handout. He wants a chance. "It's hard for me to accept things from people because I don't hop couch to couch. I don't do the call people up every time I'm hungry, or do this or do that. I will bust my butt and go recycle or I will look around town to see if anybody needs any side jobs done," J said.

Five days away from his 28th birthday and from 2013, J's wish is to get the opportunity to do just that.

Email Danj115577@gmail.com to offer employment to J. He will not accept cash donations, only a job, temporary or otherwise.


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