A homeless man photographed in USA Today turned out to be missing man Nicholas Simmons. PHOTO: CBS, screenshot
A runaway son has been reunited with his family after a chance encounter led to his being found.
Nicholas Simmons, 20, brought in 2014 by leaving his home in upstate New York. He left his wallet, phone and more or less everything else he owned. His family could not find him, and he was reported missing.
AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin was going around Washington D.C., looking to take some shots to show just how brutally cold it was. Over the weekend, Washington hovered around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and dropped as low as 17 (and they didn’t have it the worst among other Northeast cities). Martin spotted a young man who “didn’t look he’d been on the street a long time.” He said his name was “Nick,” and he consented to have photos taken of him.
“If you want to give me the full name for the picture, often people reach out and try to help,” she offered Nick. “’No, I’m okay,’” Martin recalls him replying.
Meanwhile, Nick’s family had launched a push on social media to try and find him. After Martin’s photo was published in the Sunday USA Today, USA Today reporter Natalie DiBlasio got in touch with Martin to say that she thought that “Nick” was Nicholas Simmons.
With Simmons identified, his family rushed to Washington D.C. to find him. They did, and Simmons has been reunited with his family.
Martin, DiBlasio and serendipity may have saved Nicholas Simmons’ life. The question remains, however, why did he run away in the first place? Was this a happy reunion for him? What happens next? We don’t know, but Simmons should be thankful he is back in the care of his family instead of on the streets during the coldest week of the year.