This Man Had Been Homeless For Three Decades, But Then A Cop Helped Him Find Out His True Identity

This wasn’t Deputy Sheriff Jacob Swalwell’s first encounter with Michael Myers, and the law enforcement agent had had enough. The homeless man had repeatedly been warned about begging for cash, after all. But here was Myers doing this exact thing in his same spot in Hayward, California. So Swalwell squared up to Myers once more, and this time he meant business. Yet after the sheriff’s deputy asked Myers a routine question, the panhandler gave a surprising answer – and it led both men on a quest to reveal the truth about Myers’ identity.

At first, though, Swalwell had come down hard on Myers. As the homeless man explained to San Francisco station KPIX in 2017, the official had told him in no uncertain terms, “You can’t be on this freeway anymore, and I’m going to write you a ticket.” There was something else that Myers had had to do, too.

Yes, Swallwell had demanded that the other man present a form of identification – an order that had ultimately been denied. The wiry figure in front of the deputy had claimed, in fact, that he didn’t actually have any ID on him. And this had puzzled Swalwell. “I immediately asked [of Myers], ‘Why don’t you have an ID?’” he recalled to KPIX in 2018.

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Swalwell had also wondered why Myers hadn’t just applied for social security instead of panhandling near the freeway. The man’s response, however, may have opened the cop’s eyes to the harsh reality of life for some under his jurisdiction. “I can’t get [social security] because I can’t even get an ID,” Myers had replied.

And owing to this exchange, Swalwell launched his own investigation into the individual whom he had stopped on the street. That decision would ultimately take both he and Myers on an unexpected journey. And it would result in the kind of ending that wouldn’t be entirely out of place in a Hollywood movie.

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But who is Myers, and how had he come to be living rough on the streets? Where is his family, and why was it that he had no ID? Well, although Myers’ story may be unique, the circumstances in which he’d found himself provide a real insight into why many end up sleeping outside all over the U.S.

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It turned out, for one, that Myers’ life had been difficult from the start. He had been adopted at a young age, and his experience of the family that he had been brought into had been mixed. While his new mom had cared for and appreciated him, you see, his adoptive siblings had practically turned their backs on their brother. The rest of the clan hadn’t been particularly receptive to Myers, either.

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Then, after the California native left high school, he began driving trucks for a living. But after his adoptive parents passed away – and Myers lost any friends he had once had – he found himself alone and relying completely on himself. Life was about to become a lot harder for Myers, too.

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Ultimately, then, Myers ended up on the streets – as so many people do. According to official data, in fact, January 2019 saw 8,022 people sleeping rough or utilizing shelters in Alameda County, CA, alone. In neighboring San Francisco, meanwhile, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing has reported that, as of 2019, there are 8,011 homeless people in the city. That’s a rise of around 17 percent in two years.

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But while Myers may have been in the same predicament, he bucks several preconceptions that many hold about the types of people who find themselves homeless. The former truck driver doesn’t have any problems with alcohol abuse, for one thing, nor does he use narcotics or smoke. He has no prior criminal record, either, and is not mentally ill.

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And at 67 years of age, Myers is also a senior. In an ideal world, then, Myers should have been enjoying his retirement – yet he was struggling to scrape together enough money to eat. The Californian had no one to share his days with nor did he have a roof over his head.

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But, as previously mentioned, Myers was not on the street because he was an addict; instead, it was all apparently down to sheer bad luck. And it seems that – like many homeless people – he felt practically invisible to others, too. “Most of the people [around me] just hurry by and don’t even give me a glance,” Myers told KPIX in 2018.

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To help raise some cash, then, Myers took to panhandling and busking outside a subway station with his guitar. And, of course, in that time he had been noticed by local law enforcement officers – including Swalwell. “I had given [Myers] so many warnings,” the sheriff’s deputy explained to KPIX.

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Upon questioning Myers during the incident noted earlier, though, Swalwell was stunned to discover that Myers’ lack of ID had left him in administrative limbo. And after learning that Myers was unable to receive any government assistance as a result, the official decided to intervene on the other man’s behalf.

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Speaking to KPIX in 2018, Myers remembered Swalwell saying, “Well, you’ve got somebody to help you now. I’m going to help you get your ID so you can get your social security and get off the street.” At the time that Swalwell offered to assist the homeless man, though, the sheriff’s deputy gravely underestimated just how difficult that task would be.

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In order to qualify for an ID card in Alameda County, you see, a citizen is required to provide two types of proof of residency in California as well as a birth certificate. And unfortunately, Myers had none of those items to hand – partly, of course, because he was of no fixed abode.

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To make matters worse, there was no longer any record of Myers ever having had a driver’s license – despite his previous career. And even Swalwell was initially left scratching his head at the conundrum. “How does a homeless person come up with two forms of residency?” the deputy pondered, according to KPIX.

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Thankfully, though, Swalwell was eventually able to come up with a plan that successfully enabled Myers to obtain what he was looking for. The official in fact asked both his employer, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, and his church to vouch that Myers was a resident of Alameda County. And thanks to that help, the homeless man was then on the way to securing identification for the first time in years.

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As Swalwell continued, however, the officer also found something that Myers had never clapped eyes on before: his own birth certificate. This was a momentous discovery – and not only because it could help the man finally acquire some ID. For Myers, you see, the information given on the document provided an answer that had eluded him for decades.

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Myers had known that he hadn’t grown up with his biological parents – although that in itself had been a revelation many years ago. “I didn’t even know I was adopted until I was 16,” he revealed while talking to KPIX in 2018. Still, getting access to his birth certificate for the very first time meant that Myers was finally able to piece some of the jigsaw pieces of his life together.

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The panhandler discovered, for example, that he had entered the world in Oakland’s Highland Hospital – right in the heart of Alameda County. And as a consequence, Myers truly could call this part of the world home. The document also mentioned his adoptive parents by name.

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That’s when Swalwell’s actions came to the attention of KPIX, which first covered the feel-good tale in 2017. And while talking to the station, the sheriff’s deputy opened up about his quest. “I started to get to know more about [Myers] and realized that he didn’t need a citation; he needed someone to help him,” Swalwell claimed.

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Myers added, “We both realized at the same time that there’s a real person there – and not just a stereotype we saw when we first met each other.” When KPIX aired its segment on Swalwell and Myers’ heartwarming tale, though, a viewer at home decided that he would step in, too.

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Yes, after becoming acquainted with Myers’ plight, private investigator Mark Askins chose to get involved. Askins is, you see, a part of the organization Miracle Messages, which seeks to put homeless people back in touch with their nearest and dearest. And according to the P.I., a comment that Myers had given during the press coverage had stayed with him. “[Myers] kept saying, ‘I’m lonely. I don’t have anybody in my life,’” Askins later recalled to KPIX.

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So, after getting the go-ahead from Myers, Askins put his skills to the test by digging into the 67-year-old’s past. And, fortunately, the investigator had a little information to go on, too. Myers had shared, for instance, that his birth name had been Oakley; he also believed that his birth mother had been called Nicole.

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Consequently, Askins headed to the Alameda County Courthouse to pore through family records. And it was there that he began to unravel the mystery that was Myers’ background. During an interview with KPIX, Askins revealed some pertinent information regarding the homeless man’s lost relatives. “Here, we have a case involving Wiley Albert Oakley and a Marie Pauline Oakley,” he told the station, referring to a particular document.

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Then, after noting the relevant case numbers, Askins perused microfilm records and unearthed vital information about Marie Pauline Oakley – Myers’ birth mother. It seems that, at only 16 years of age, Oakley had eloped with a sailor stationed at the nearby Naval Air Station Alameda. Tying the knot in Reno, the couple had subsequently settled in the sailor’s home state of Tennessee.

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Then, some time after, Oakley returned home accompanied by a son – and pregnant once more. Her mother also decided that she would try to legally end Oakley’s marriage. The young woman’s mom actually angled for an annulment on the grounds that at the time of the elopement, Oakley had not been 18 – the age of consent in California.

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Yet even though Askins seemed to have struck gold with his discovery, he still needed to find Oakley herself. And given that Myers, her son, was a senior, it was very possible that Oakley may have already passed away. As luck would have it, though, Askins uncovered a phone number that looked as though it belonged to the right person: one Marie Pauline Oakley, who lived in Humboldt County.

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Happily, that woman was indeed Myers’ mother. And upon discovering that the child whom she had given up for adoption – the same baby she had been carrying upon her return to the Bay Area – had been looking for her, Oakley – now known as Polly – had no doubts that she wanted to see him.

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First, though, a call was arranged between the two. And, appropriately, Myers’ end of the conversation took place at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, where he was accompanied by Swalwell. Askins was present, too, when Myers finally reconnected with his mom after decades apart.

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“This is David Charles Oakley,” opened Myers, using his birth name. And the response was overwhelming. “My son!” Oakley exclaimed. And while the call may have provided a heart-warming moment for all listening in, it no doubt meant so much more to the homeless man and his birth mother, who lived only 300 miles or so away.

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So, during the rest of the call, the mom and son chatted, starting to fill in the gaps of the intervening decades. There may have been questions on Myers’ part, too. Why had Oakley put her child up for adoption all those years ago? And what had ultimately led to the decision that had changed Myers’ life?

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Eventually, then, Oakley recalled the events of that time – ones that had begun when she had arrived in the Smoky Mountains as a young bride. Back then, her new husband had been frequently absent, leaving her in the hands of her mother-in-law for weeks at a time. It turned out, too, that the older woman had been manipulating and cruel, and she had had no qualms about keeping Oakley hungry and in extreme poverty. So, after having done everything she could to protect and feed herself and her first-born, the teenager had plucked up enough courage to return to her mother in California.

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After Myers had been born and had grown to become a toddler, though, his mom received some devastating news: the little boy had a hole in his stomach. And, sadly, there was no way Oakley could raise the funds for the operation that her son so badly required. “My back was against the wall. I had to do what was best for him. I could have never afforded that surgery. I had no idea – if he didn’t get the surgery, would he die?” Oakley explained to KPIX in 2018.

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But Oakley’s own mom had found the answer: adoption. And a family who attended her church had been happy to take the boy in, and Oakley had thus decided that the best option was to give her son up. Yet even after these details had been divulged, it wasn’t the end of the story for Myers and Oakley. Just a couple of weeks after that momentous phone call, you see, the homeless man was on a flight to finally reunite with his birth mother.

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Myers met his stepfather, too, as well as a whole host of other relatives that he hadn’t even known existed just a matter of weeks before. “He didn’t just get a mom! He had a whole family, and they all descended him at one time,” Oakley revealed while talking to KPIX.

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Touchingly, Oakley added of her son, “He’s suddenly discovered he has family when he thought he was alone in the world. I have one more person to love.” And Myers himself struggled to grasp the chain of events that had led him to this moment. “Who’d have thought that something like this could have happened to anybody – let alone me!” he exclaimed to KPIX.

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But, of course, Myers hadn’t reached this point alone; Swalwell and Askins had helped along the way. And Oakley was especially effusive in her praise for the law enforcement officer. “I want to see where your wings are, because you brought my son home to me,” the grateful mom told the deputy.

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After that, too, Myers started to get the support he needs – including health coverage – as a disabled senior citizen. He also put in an application to receive social security. And, best of all, he now has a family to call his own – thanks, of course, to the kindness of two strangers.

It’s not just cops who go above and beyond to help others, though. In November 2018, for instance, Jordan Weaver was making the rounds in Indiana as a UPS driver. This would be no ordinary shift, though – as Weaver found out to his cost. You see, as he stopped in a residential area to drop off a parcel, he caught a glimpse of something moving in a pile of leaves. And as the delivery man realized what was hidden underneath the mass, his blood ran cold.

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According to Yahoo! Lifestyle, Weaver had at that point recently graduated from UPS’ multi-week-long driver safety program. He had also only been with the company for around ten months by that time, and, as the website claims, had been “particularly alert.”

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It was lucky, too, that Weaver had been on his guard on that particular day in Elkhart, Indiana. While on his rounds, he parked his vehicle up on a main road that was just across the street from his next delivery. Then the driver handed the package over and headed back to his van.

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But Weaver’s day would take a shocking turn just a few moments later when he spotted something strange rustling the leaves by the sidewalk. And after the UPS employee uploaded a snap of the sight onto social media, the shot would subsequently go viral.

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We’ll return to exactly what Weaver came across a little later. First, though, let’s explore some of the trials and tribulations that are faced by delivery drivers while they do their rounds. After all, Weaver certainly isn’t the only one to have dealt with an unexpected situation on the job.

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As a delivery driver, you get to travel the roads of your local area and take in the surroundings as you go. And given the amount of time that you’re likely to spend in your vehicle, you may just get glimpses of some pretty strange sights along the way.

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FedEx delivery driver Byron Nash had quite the shock, for instance, when he took to the road on one day in October 2018. On that occasion, Nash was traveling through Lake Charleston, Louisiana, before making a standard stop outside a house.

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Then, with the sun beaming down on the blacktop, Nash grabbed the package from his truck and prepared to hand it over. But while all appeared to be fairly normal at that stage, the driver got the fright of his life a few seconds later. When he left the vehicle, you see, he caught sight of something truly shocking.

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Incredibly, a baby had crawled onto the road from the house that Nash was delivering to, with the tot having made her way right next to the tires of the truck. Nash felt the need to capture this jaw-dropping moment on video, too, and he would later share the resulting footage on Facebook.

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The clip opens up with a shot of the baby in question, who appears to be sat down in front of the FedEx vehicle. Nash then says, “Look [at what I’ve seen] when I get off my damn work truck. This baby is right under my tires, and her parents are nowhere to be found. Look at this!”

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Nash subsequently pans across to the house, revealing that the garage door is wide open. Then, after clarifying that the baby’s alone, he turns the camera back to the road and spots the youngster crawling toward him. In response, the driver says “hey” in a startled voice and crouches down beside her.

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Nash also temporarily puts the parcel down to pick up the child, who whimpers quietly. Then he grabs the package again and heads over to the house in a bid to find the baby’s parents. And the delivery man calls out to make his presence known as he walks into the open garage.

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A few moments later, however, a woman responds from inside the property and heads over to Nash. The driver has stern words for her, too, saying, “Hey, this baby was under my truck! I didn’t even see her until I saw the dog, and I got out and I saw her under the tire.” Clearly taken aback, the lady responds, “Oh s**t! Oh, honey.”

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With the tot now back in her guardian’s sights, Nash then hands over the parcel. Meanwhile, the woman tells the youngster, “Girl, come on now! I thought I had her trapped.” That certainly wasn’t the case, of course, and the shocked driver admits that he was scared by the sight to begin with.

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“Hey, it would’ve scared the f**k out of me too,” the woman says to Nash. “I’m so sorry.” The FedEx employee then reiterates that a tragedy was avoided by the barest of margins. Sounding relieved, he admits, “I’m glad I was paying attention! If I’d have backed up, [the baby would] have been out of here. And I’d have been in trouble!”

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Nash also suggests to the woman that she may want to close any open doors to prevent this from happening again. Then the pair go on to say their farewells before he heads back to the truck for the rest of his shift – and the eye-opening video comes to an end.

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And Nash’s clip has made a massive impact since it was uploaded onto Facebook in October 2018, earning around ten million views and more than 60,000 likes. The footage has also been shared over 188,000 times and has generated in excess of 37,000 comments.

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Unsurprisingly, a number of those messages reflected Nash’s shock, while some Facebook users also chose to condemn the baby’s guardian. Then, as the video continued to pick up steam, several news outlets started to cover the driver’s story as well. Publications such as The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Sun Herald all reported on the situation.

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And just like on Facebook, the story gained plenty of traction in the press. The Daily Mail article on the tale, for instance, has been shared over 2,300 times since it was published back in October 2018. The following month, however, another delivery driver shared their own shocking tale with the world.

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Jordan Weaver, who we mentioned earlier, was dropping off parcels to residents in Elkhart, Indiana. And though he had close to a year’s worth of experience with UPS at that point, nothing could have prepared him for what happened that day in November 2018.

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On that occasion, one of Weaver’s stops had required him to park on the other side of the road to a massive pile of dead leaves. And UPS’ director of corporate relations Glenn Zaccara filled in what happened next when talking to Yahoo! Lifestyle. According to Zaccara, nothing had initially seemed out of place at that moment in time.

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Zaccara said, “[Weaver] walked across the street to deliver a package to a woman that was leaf blowing in her yard. She took [it] and started walking into her home, and [Weaver went] back across the street to his truck.” From there, though, the driver caught sight of something strange.

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Weaver had picked up on some unusual movement in the pile of leaves, you see, and so he went on to take a closer look in a bid to identify what was causing the rustling. A few moments later, however, the UPS delivery man had his answer – and it turned his stomach upside down.

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The large pile of leaves itself had started to spill on to the road from the sidewalk. Given the heap’s location, then, any passing cars would’ve had trouble avoiding it. And, in fact, those motorists would have had little chance of spotting what Weaver eventually saw on his stroll to the truck.

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Incredibly, Weaver had spotted a young boy playing beneath the pile of leaves. Then the kid returned to the surface and headed back to the house that Weaver had visited – leaving the driver utterly stunned. He later recalled to WSBT-TV, “I couldn’t believe it at first. My heart completely stopped.”

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Once he had gotten over his shock, however, Weaver walked back to the property to speak with the woman. Zaccara told Yahoo Lifestyle, “Turns out, of course, that’s her son. So [Weaver] said, ‘First, I just want you to be aware of what was going on.’ He was certain she didn’t notice with the leaves flying and the noise.”

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But Weaver also had an intriguing request for the lady. You see, prior to starting his day at UPS, he frequents a pre-work communication meeting – better known as a PCM. And following his encounter with the hidden child, the courier saw an opportunity to bring something forward at a future get-together.

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Zaccara continued, “At every location all over the world, we do 15-minute PCM meetings before drivers go out on the road. Part of it is stretching and literally getting themselves ready to go out. But an important part of the PCM is some type of safety message.” Keeping that in mind, Weaver asked his question.

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Specifically, Weaver queried whether he could snap a photo of the boy in the pile of leaves. And after the UPS employee added that he would use the image to warn his fellow drivers of hidden dangers, the woman agreed. So the trio went on to replicate the situation on the sidewalk, with the little kid jumping back into the mound.

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In the resulting image, the boy’s head can therefore be seen sticking out of the pile. This wasn’t actually visible in the first encounter, in fact, but Weaver could use it as a visual cue when delivering his message at the PCM. And even so, the youngster was still somewhat hard to spot under all the leaves.

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Weaver then returned to his truck and fired the picture over to one of his workmates. After Theresa Baker – who was part of the safety committee program at UPS – received the image a short time later, however, she decided that the photo should be spread even more widely.

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And after Baker subsequently posted the image on social media, the snap quickly went viral. Amazingly, the photo earned close to 400,000 shares and around 33,000 reactions on Facebook before Weaver’s colleague deleted the post. A number of online outlets, such as Yahoo! and the Daily Mail, chose to cover the story, too.

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Then UPS responded to Weaver’s quick thinking on that day through a short statement. The message read, “Safety is our top priority at UPS. When one of our drivers saw this child in the leaves, it was a chance to help spread the word to always be watchful on the road.”

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That lesson is useful to more than just UPS drivers, of course, as anyone on the road should be vigilant of their surroundings. And when Weaver’s find was covered on Yahoo! Lifestyle, many commenters went on to talk about their own experiences with leaf piles on the road.

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One user wrote, for instance, “My hubby told me once [that] when he was 16 [and had just received his license], he was driving and running over leaf piles. For some unknown reason, he didn’t hit a [certain] pile of leaves by the road. [And] just as he drove by, a kid popped out! He said he has never run over a pile of leaves again.”

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Another online commenter touched upon the overall conditions of the road at that time of year. According to that person, drivers need to be wary of more than just hiding children when approaching areas covered in leaves, as wet foliage can also prove dangerous.

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The user said, “I live in a tropical climate, but I’ve always wanted to move to somewhere with fall foliage. I would have never thought that kids could be hiding under there. The Weather Channel was also just talking about how difficult it is to get your car to a complete stop when leaves – specifically wet leaves – are on the ground.”

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“These are all things that are good to remind people about this time of year – even if they already knew it,” the commenter added. And Weaver has also reflected on the safety of the roads from his perspective as a delivery driver. During his shifts, you see, he has played witness to some dangerous behavior.

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In particular, Weaver claimed that he’s noticed plenty of drivers on their phones in areas such as Elkhart. And, naturally, using a cellphone while on the road may not only prove a distraction, but it can also put others in real peril.

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When speaking to WJTV, then, Weaver wanted his fellow motorists to take something on board. In a video interview, he told the news station, “You really have to keep your eyes open – no matter what kind of street you’re on [and] no matter where you’re at. You just have to really pay attention to everything around you constantly.”

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