Fresno police opened their wallets and their hearts to help a homeless man return to his family in Sacramento by pooling their money to pay for a train ticket.
The man knocked on the door at the southwest Fresno substation in Kearney Palms Plaza on Tuesday and asked for help, said Sgt. Mike Gebhart.
Robert Snider, 65, is homeless and was living on downtown Fresno streets.
“He said he was at his wit’s end and didn’t know what to do,” Gebhart said. “He said he just wanted to get out of Fresno.”
Snider lives in Sacramento and is homeless there, too. Snider came to Fresno on June 24 with two other men looking for work. He told police he had been promised a job here, but after he arrived he realized his contact only wanted him to help cash a fraudulent check.
When he refused, he was left stranded. From Sunday until Tuesday he was sleeping on and walking the streets of downtown Fresno. He admitted he was panhandling to make enough money to return to Sacramento and reunite with his grandson who also is homeless.
Snider has no local criminal history and asked if police could get him back to Sacramento to reunite with his grandson. He and his grandson have no cell phones and no way of communicating with each other, police said.
“He had no criminal history, so that just added more validity to his story,” Gebhart said.
Snider told police he was grateful for their help. “He was just excited and said he’d never been on a train before,” Gebhart said.
Officer Eric Hull provided Snyder a ride to the station and purchased the $23 ticket with the pooled money.
“We thought, ‘If that’s what he wants, let’s try to give him what he wants,’ ” Gebhart said.
Police don’t often dig into their own pockets to assist someone who shows up at the station.
“It doesn’t happened every day,” Gebhart said.