A loner, no friends, no parents, no kids - that was how Mick Myers described himself. The 67-year-old had been living on the streets for 30 years. He thought he would go on like this until one day a police officer talked to him and found out his true identity...
Born in 1950, all Mick Myers knew was that he was adopted by a family from San Leandro, California, at the age of two. He didn’t even know if "Mick Meyers" was his real name. As a child, Myers got good grades and joined in his high school marching band. But unfortunately, things got worse as he grew up.
When he was a teenager, he had trouble getting along with his siblings, who treated him as an outsider. After his adoptive parents passed away, they disowned him. Worse still, around the same time, Myers fell out with his childhood friends. It didn’t take long for Myers to find himself without a support system. He felt deprived of all his purposes in life. To survive, he needed to find a job first.
Fortunately, Myers got a job as a truck driver. He enjoyed the job so much, as it allowed him to travel and brought vitality to his life. He managed to follow his driving schedule every day and became close with his co-workers. It seemed like everything was getting back on track, then tragedy struck...
A serious car accident happened to him. His back was injured in the crash and he had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. Even after leaving the hospital, he was confined to a wheelchair for a long time and recovered just enough to walk around on crutches. Worst of all, however, he wouldn't be able to work as a truck driver anymore.
Myers couldn’t find a job, and without any help from his family and the government, he had to live on the street. By panhandling and playing his guitar, he could barely support himself. In 2017, Myers turned 67 and had spent the 30 years homeless. He believed life would go on like this until his last breath. Thankfully, fate had other plans for him.
In November 2017, the poor man ran into Deputy Sheriff Jacob Swalwell beside a freeway in Hayward, California. Swalwell had warned Myers against begging for money multiple times, but he could still see him panhandling around. Eventually, the officer decided to take more serious action.
Swalwell knew he had to make things official, and he intended to give Myers a formal citation. He asked Myers for his ID. Of course, the homeless man didn't have one to provide. It was then that Swalwell and Myers started a conversation. All the Deputy Sheriff knew was that Myers was a homeless man who frequently panhandled on Foothill Boulevard. He would soon learn something that dropped his jaw.
Myers explained that he couldn’t get an ID even if he wanted one, as he didn’t have the required documents. This prevented him from receiving any government support. He knew that he had to work if he wanted to survive. However, most jobs he applied for required him to stand for hours, which would cause great pain in his back. He skipped around between food service and manufacturing positions and even worked at the DMV for some time.
Swalwell immediately felt sorry for the poor man, saying, "You've got someone to help you now. I will help you get an ID, so you can get social security and get off the streets." Myers thanked Swalwell deeply for his kindness, and this marked the beginning of their friendship. But considering that there are thousands of panhandlers in California, why did Swalwell decide to help Myers over others? Was it just because he had suffered this much?
As it turned out, Swalwell claimed he felt that Myers was truthful and sincere, something he didn't necessarily experience while on patrol. Most importantly, he decided to help him because "He was not an alcoholic, He did not use drugs. He did not use tobacco. He was just a senior citizen on his own." Facing such a poor, positive beggar, what other choice did Myers have?
Swalwell wasted no time in getting Myers the urgent help he needed. He visited the DMV first to see if he could retrace Myers’ records and learn at what point they had been lost. Unfortunately, although Myers was a former DMV employee, his records had been erased. Now, to apply for a new ID, Myers would need to offer a birth certificate, as well as proof that he was a resident of California. But how does a homeless person come up with multiple forms of residency?
Realizing he needed back up, Swalwell decided to enlist the help of his church pastor and his colleagues at the Alameda Sheriff's Department. They managed to provide Myers with all the necessary proof of residency. Meanwhile, Swalwell tried to track down Myers’ long-lost birth certificate. When he finally unearthed it, Myers didn’t just get an ID - he found his real name!
The name on Myers’ birth certificate was Gordon Michael Oakley. Mick was not his given birth name but a shortened version of his middle name. He had no idea of this before! By now, his story had been all over the local media, which also helped raise awareness about other forms of help Myers might need. The story could have ended here happily, until a private investigator, Mark Askins, got involved.
Askins became interested in Myers' story as soon as he heard about it. He was an experienced private investigator from the charity Miracle Messages, which reunited the homeless with their long-lost relatives. Askins reached out to Myers and offered to search for his biological family. The investigator knew that his involvement would help Myers get off the streets in the shortest time, but it was more difficult than he had expected.
Just like many other homeless people, Myers had fallen off the grid, with nobody knowing where to find him even if they wanted to. On top of that, he knew nothing about technology and had no access to any of the latest innovations like the Internet or cell phones since the 1980s. With just Myers' real birth name, date, place, and his mother's first name, Askins began his work at the Alameda county courthouse. What he found next surprised all.
After going through countless documents at the courthouse, Askins found a case file about a young couple, Marie Pauline Oakley and Wiley Albert Oakley, who had a son known as Mick Myers. But the two finally parted ways, leaving their child up for adoption. Soon, Askins learned that Myers' biological father had passed away years earlier. But luckily, his birth mother was still alive and living in Eureka, California. Askins decided to take the plunge and give her a call.
An elderly woman answered the phone. It didn't take long for Askins to mention Myers to Marie. She was shocked to hear of him and eager to know how he had been all these years. The 85-years-old explained that Myers was born with a hole in his stomach, a life-threatening condition. Although she worked multiple jobs and did everything she could, she still could not afford the medical bills. She had no choice but to put him up for adoption.
She put Myers in the care of his future adoptive parents, who attended the same church. After learning her son’s tragic fate, the mom couldn’t wait for a second to reconnect with him. Shortly after the conversation, Marie and Myers spoke on the phone for the first time in decades, but their communication didn't stop there.
Myers had been separated from Marie since the age of just two and knew nothing about her. Just a few weeks after their talking, Myers flew to Eureka to meet her, with Askins and Swalwell by his side. When the plane landed, they were welcomed by Myers' niece, Shannon, another surprise for Myers. Shannon then drove them to Marie’s home. Myers had no idea what to expect.
Upon meeting, Myers and Marie greeted each other with a big hug, regardless of the fact that they hadn't seen each other for more than 60 years. The mother and son both cried in each other's arms. Neither of them had ever thought they would meet again. This was especially a touching moment for Myers, considering that he had been living on the streets for so long. Little did he know that a bigger surprise was waiting for him.
After their embrace, Myers and Marie sat down to catch up on their more than 60 years of being apart. Pauline showed Myers old pictures of herself, her mother, his siblings, and even Myers himself as a baby. In turn, Myers told his own story starting from the happy time with his adoptive parents and his gratitude to them to the many struggles he had gone through. Marie was devastated to hear all the hardships her son had suffered. She had spent her years hoping he was doing fine, only to find this. Fortunately, Myer's life was about to turn around.
After meeting his birth mom, Myers moved in with her. He got a much bigger family than he had imagined, including a mother, siblings, nephews, nieces, and more. They were all quick to accept him into the family. Since the passing of his adoptive parents, Myers finally felt like being accepted and loved. "I've always wondered all these years why things turned out the way they did. This wondering has disappeared now," Myers said. It was clear that it was all thanks to the help of Jacob Swalwell and Mark Askins.
When Swalwell first entered Marie’s home, she asked him to turn around. Confused, he did and asked why. Marie explained, "I wanted to see where your wings are because you've brought my son to me. You are an angel." Swalwell and Askins are absolutely angels on earth! They helped Myers reunite with his family as well as get him back on his feet. They even started a GoFundMe, raising over $2,000 to put toward food, clothing, and anything else Myers may need.
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