It’s a story that will melt your heart: An elderly man who had just returned home after spending months in the hospital was hungry and turned for help in an unlikely place.
Fayetteville, North Carolina resident Clarence Blackmon had no food in his house, and had no one to ask for help, so he dialed 911.
“What I need is someone to get to the grocery store and bring me some food because I need to eat something,” Blackmon, 81, told the 911 operator. “Whatever you can do to help. I can’t do anything. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t get out of my damn chair.”
“I said, ‘I’m not broken, I’m not bleeding, and I’m not in crisis. I just want somebody to help me buy some food,’” he later told ABC News.
What happened next will restore your faith in humanity: Marilyn Hinson, the 911 operator who took the call, showed up at Blackmon’s door with a box of groceries. Local police officers also came along to help.
“He was hungry,” Hinson recalled. “I’ve been hungry. A lot of people can’t say that, but I can, and I can’t stand for anyone to be hungry.”
Hinson brought Blackmon’s favorites: A head of cabbage, popcorn, tomato juice, green beans, pickled beets, and soda, and she stayed to make him a few ham sandwiches. When she left, she gave him her number and told him to call if he needs anything.
"I was overwhelmed,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon, who suffered a stroke a year and a half ago and weighs just 115 pounds, spent the last six months in a rehabilitation facility. He said he’s also battling cancer.
According to Feeding America, Blackmon’s situation isn’t unusual. In 2011, 4.8 million senior citizens were “food insecure,” or didn’t have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of food.
Now, at least, Blackmon has help when he needs it.
“She is such a delightful lady,” he said. “It’s amazing. Us little people need a helping hand every once in a while. Most of the time, we get overlooked. We’re still here.”