Strangers drive homeless man from L.A. to Wisconsin

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 3:08 PM CDT
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MINNEAPOLIS (KARE) - A couple of good Samaritans were so moved by a photographer’s striking picture of a homeless man in Los Angeles that they took action to help the man get on his feet.

This photograph, taken by John Hwang, shows anguish on the man’s face. A short description said Sang D Yang wants to be better, lost contact with his family, is Hmong and from Milwaukee.

“I read it, and I was like, well you know he’s my people and let’s see what I can do to help,” Daniel Lee said. “Let me at least track him down and see if I can get him connected to resources.”

Lee was among a number of strangers who went looking for Sang. Eventually, they found him.

“He’s very timid, very shy and I can just tell from the look in his eyes he’s been through a lot,” Lee said.

None of them expected they’d be driving Sang more than 2,000 miles from L.A. to Colorado, through Iowa and finally to Wisconsin. They connected him with services with the help from strangers from all over the country, including Minnesota.

“It’s the only way that we can reasonably say that we got him there to the place he needed to be,” Lee said.

Sang’s story has holes and is messy. These guys say it doesn’t matter.

“It’s not just somebody who is homeless, it’s somebody who is lost,” Lee said. “There’s a saying where (in Hmong) when you come into my town, call me. Call me, let me know that you’re here, and I’ll take care of you. And I guess that’s the closest way of defining how I felt.”

The strangers bonded during a time when so many people are separated, because they saw the humanity through this picture.

“We may not know everyone’s story,” Lee said. “But we have to do what we can to help each other out. We have to look out for each other.”

Hwang initially shared Sang’s story on his Facebook page and on his website. His art focuses on the stories of the people living on skid row in L.A.

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