Maryland Police Officer’s Photo of Teen Praying Over Homeless Man Goes Viral

Eric Gaines-compressed
Photo Credit: Eric Gaines/Facebook

BALTIMORE, Md. — A Maryland police officer’s photograph of a teenage boy praying over a homeless man as he slept on the sidewalk has gone viral.

Eric Gaines, a police officer at the University of Maryland, snapped the photograph in Baltimore on March 1, and posted it on Facebook.

“I watched as this young kid was walking past, stopped and walked over to this sleeping homeless man, touched him and began praying over him,” Gaines wrote. “This was an amazing sight! I pray this kid becomes a leader amongst his peers and continues on this path! Not all Baltimore youth are lost!”

The photograph shows a young African American male kneeling on the sidewalk, head bowed as he lays his hand on the homeless man’s shoe.

Gaines told the Baltimore Sun that the boy went on to board a bus following the prayer and went on his way.

“He didn’t do it for any accolades or any praise,” he stated. “I didn’t get a chance to say anything. I wanted to say something to him, but it was just as if he did what he had to do and left.”

The officer said that he was blessed by the teen’s act of kindness and wanted to share it with others. Last year, Baltimore had been in headlines nationwide as violent riots broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray.

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“It was good to see a young black man, especially in this community, doing something positive,” Gaines explained. “That’s why I took the picture. It was powerful on so many levels, and for it to be in my presence—it was crazy.”

The identity of the boy is not yet known, but Gaines said he would like to meet him. He said that he hopes that the teen sees the photo and knows that he has touched many lives through his example.

As of press time, the photo has been shared over 36,000 times.

As previously reported, last month, a South Carolina sheriff’s office released a video sharing the story of a formerly drug addicted homeless man whose life was transformed after a police officer took the time to talk to him and gift a copy of the Bible.

The video by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office featured footage of a phone call from Robert Morris, whose life was touched in 2014 after Deputy Matt Holman found him walking the streets alone and soaking wet.

He explained that he had been living in a tent after becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, and after he was flooded out, he began walking the streets. Deputy Matt Holman saw Morris out walking at 2 a.m. and stopped to talk. The two went to a nearby church, where Morris shared his life story.

“He had lost his mom and dad. He had lost his sister,” Holman recalled. “After losing his sister, he got addicted to drugs and alcohol.”

Morris said that his addiction harmed his relationship with his two remaining siblings.

During the discussion, Holman asked Morris what his needs were, and Morris said that he would like a Bible.

Holman stood for a moment contemplating what to do as all he could find in the trunk was his own personal Bible. The deputy ended up giving Morris his Bible and bought him a meal.

Six months later, Holman received a call from Morris, who wanted to say thank you and let him know how much his life had changed since that night.

“He said, ‘Officer, you don’t understand. Because of what you’d done, I checked myself back into mental health, I was able to get regulated with my medication [and] I reconciled my relationship with my brother [and] my sister,” Holman remembered, adding that Morris was also no longer homeless.

“Because of what you had done that night,” Morris said, “that saved my life.”


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  • Emmanuel

    What Would An Atheist Do? WWAD?

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      Atheism offers nothing for that homeless man, except to die and get out of the way for another member of the “accidental” species. There are no “There is No God” homeless shelters. Secular charities do exist, but very few atheist ones.

      This fine young man shows how it is done – how a person who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit desires to do good works in obedience to his Savior.

      • wandakate

        YES, exactly. The heartwarming stories like this are what just keeps us going for the good, for the goal that is ahead of us. The challenge of helping somebody else to see the light. Praise the LORD for this young man and I hope his life will be brighter b/c he shares his faith or prayers if only with GOD. We pray in secret, no fanfare needed, and GOD sees us in secret and rewards us accordingly.
        We are saved by GOD’s grace, but we will be judged by our WORKS!
        Our works is related to our deeds, our actions, our commitment, our allegiance, faith. Our FAITH without our WORKS is dead!

        • HelenaConstantine

          Helping him see the light? How about helping get into a govt. program that would provide housing?

      • Quantz

        “Gaines told the Baltimore Sun that the boy went on to board a bus following the prayer and went on his way.”

      • HelenaConstantine

        Well, its been established by scientific tests that prayer does exactly nothing. So this person was only pretending to help the homeless man. When was the last time a bible-thumper preacher called on law-makers to enact laws that would actually help and support the homeless?

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          “So this person was only pretending to help the homeless man.”

          He showed more compassion than you ever have.

          Conservative religious devote far more of their time, treasure, and talents to charitable causes, including secular ones, than liberal secularists:

          http://winteryknight .com/2014/10/14/statistics-on-whether-atheists-are-more-moral-than-religious-people/

          Excerpt:

          “The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions.”

          “Substituting political belief for personal sacrifice shows a lack of tangible personal responsibility toward others in need and represents a deeply troubling relationship between ideology and personal action on the political left.” — Arthur C. Brooks

    • gogo0

      What Did Every Christian Before This One Teen Arrived Do? WDECBTOTAD?

      • Emmanuel

        Shelters, pray, feed them and clothe them.
        Still waiting?

      • George Jenkins

        We don’t know do we, nor what the Christians did after. Do you know? what have you done?

        • gogo0

          precisely my point, we dont know -despite the assuredness the other comments show.

          what have i done? as an atheist i’ve spent time with kids at a local orphanage, helped distribute food to homeless at a park i live by, and given my used clothes to homeless personally. as a christian i delivered ‘gift’ boxes to needy families at christmas (toys for kids, the rest was food pantry staples).

          helping people isnt an ‘us versus them’ competition, its sad that the first comment to this story is an unsubstantiated brag that atheists dont help people

          • George Jenkins

            But rather than acknowledge that this guy did something great you had to ignore that ……………..and give the implication that other Christians may have done nothing. …………..and then you brag about what you have done but as the story says,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the guy just did what he had to do and left. ……….. It is an us versus them…..because all the so-called good of unbelievers amounts to filthy rags and vanity. The young man has built up treasure in heaven.

          • gogo0

            i recall someone asking me what i had done, and i gave examples of when i was a christian as well -a “point” for your side. learn to read, and maybe if you see a homeless guy think about doing more than praying for him and leaving. a sandwich or six-pack of socks is a lot more useful

    • Elie Challita

      Vote for his city’s initiatives to actually help the homeless, as opposed to simply sending them good thoughts…

      • Emmanuel

        Still waiting!!!!! In college, I did a study on the homeless, they are still waiting for the funds and the initiatives. So not very effective or “nothing’ coming from the atheists again.

        • HelenaConstantine

          You ask the govt officials who deny help for the homeless. They’re all Christians.

          • Emmanuel

            except the Dems

  • Paige Turner

    Its good that the young boy gets to feel better for doing nothing to help that Man.

  • Louise Carpenter

    How very unchristian to say what would an atheist do? I’m a Christian but my son is an atheist and you want to know what he would do? He would go up to the mean and see if he was ok. He would take him for a meal and take him to get some warm clothing. He would also ring around shelters looking for bed for him and would try help him find something longer term. He would then help this man as much as he could. All before bed 21. Because he has and he will do it again. That’s what an atheist would do. Bit more than praying. And yes I’m a Christian but think it’s rather futile to pray over a homeless man when he’s hungry and in need of shelter. And this article didn’t once mention about the homeless man and how he was being helped since this video went viral. Yes it’s nice of the kid but what good has it done the homeless man. Only thing it has done is get the kid some fame.

    You should ask what would Jesis do. He would probably do the same as my son as he would realise praying at that moment would be futile too.

  • Joe Soap

    I must be missing something. Firstly how do you know he christian? Many african Americans are muslim. Of maybe he’s jewish, or buddhist or a member of just about any religion. They all pray you know.

    Secondly how is he actually helping? The guy was homeless and poor before this video. Presumably he’s still homeless and poor now. Unless of course someone gave him more practical help than just saying some platitudes over his unconscious body.