AUSTIN, Texas - An Austin man called the underpass of I-35 home for four years with no complaints. It wasn't until Joseph Wayne Nicholas’s bed was torched last weekend, that his life completely changed.
“I was just so upset,” said Joseph.
Little did Joseph know, he wouldn't be the only one upset about his bed being set on fire during a riot. It turns out someone was recording him and posted it to social media.
Thousands of people saw it, including Ethan Mondelli. “I actually saw was the video of Joseph's mattress being burned. Now that really struck, like struck deep with me, and it was very heart wrenching to watch,” said Mondelli.
Mondelli decided to do something to help Joseph out so he set up a gofundme.
Mondelli set the fundraiser up a week ago, and it has since raised thousands of dollars for Joseph. All from people who were upset with what happened to him.
“Money, clothes, food. I've been staying in a motel in South Austin, stayed there up till today, and then I'm going to be staying in an apartment for a while.
Joseph went from living under I-35 with only a mattress to now being lent an apartment until the gofundme campaign can raise enough money for him to get his own.
“Joseph was joking about it and he said, in a way, you know, ‘it's probably one of the most embarrassing things that's ever happened to me, but it's probably also the best thing that's ever happened to me’,” said Mondelli.
On top of all the blessings Joseph now has, he also has made an unlikely friendship with Mondelli that both men say they’ll cherish.
“There's actually been several instances where he's asked me to just come hang out with him and just come, sit down, talk and, you know, we share stories and to sit there and talk for hours and it's been a very good pleasure meeting him,” said Mondelli.