BALTIMORE, Md. — A teenager who was captured in a now viral photograph praying for a homeless man as he slept on the sidewalk says he doesn’t want praise for the act, as it was done for the glory of God alone.
As previously reported, 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 for Freddie Gray.
“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.”
Since Gaines’ initial remarks, local television station WJZ located the teenager, who is identified as 18-year-old Steven Watkins. He said that he was riding the bus home from school when a song he was listening to inspired him to get off the bus and pray over the sleeping man. The song he was listening to was not divulged.
“I prayed for him. I said, ‘God, right now you’re using me to bless this man. Thank you for showing me this song,'” Watkins told the outlet. “I knelt right here and touched his shoe…”
He prayed for nearly ten minutes over the man, but thankfully was able to catch his bus again and make it home.
While the photo has gone viral, receiving over 36,000 shares, Watkins says he does not desire any praise over his good deed.
“It don’t want no glory,” he stated. “It was all for Him. If it wasn’t for Him putting himself in my heart—”
Watkins and his twin brother regularly preach the gospel on the streets of Baltimore.