Homeless man helped by Saint Louis University students in viral video


ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – When was the last time you helped someone less fortunate than you? That is the question St. Louis students are asking in a YouTube video called “Never take life for granted.” The make-over video was produced by Saint Louis University basketball player Austin McBroom and Blake Carelli.

The duo picks up a homeless man named Michael in downtown St. Louis. They help him live like they do for a day. He is treated to a meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken and given a fresh haircut. The three of them even take a trip to the St. Louis Galleria to shop for new clothes.

Austin McBroom might be the top three point shooter for the St. Louis Billikens. But it’s his assist off the court that’s making headlines.

“I love playing basketball but at the same time too if you don’t know about me, I love helping people,” says SLU Guard Austin McBroom.  “So it makes me feel good and my buddy feels good so it’s just something I like to do.”

McBroom’s magnanimous act over the weekend has been sweeping the internet.

“They picked me up by Washington Avenue by the side,” says Michael Cheney.  “I was smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee.  They offered to buy me clothes and give me something to eat, haircut and things.”

Michael Cheney was living on the streets of St. Louis when McBroom and friend Blake Carellii decided to help the first homeless person they found.

“We both decided to save $100 a piece and we decided to go out and make a difference to somebody who actually needs it and wants it,” says McBroom.

“I was home yesterday and looking on Facebook and I saw a video and I saw the hat and I said, ‘That’s Michael,`” says Katie Thumann of Places For People.

Unbeknownst to the basketball player and his friend, Cheney had been stranded in St. Louis while on his way to Amarillo.

“He didn’t have anything,” adds Thumann.  “He was stranded.  He didn’t have an ID or birth certificate, money or a social security card, none of the things that you need.  He couldn’t prove that he was Michael.”

But Katie Thumann could. Her non-profit organization, Places for People work with adults with mental health disabilities.

For the past three months they’ve been helping Cheney get back on his feet.

Today he took a big step toward a new future.

“This is my first time being off the streets today cause I was staying at Larry Rice’s place since December,” says Cheney.

Cheney will be living in a new apartment in South St. Louis, and chances are he’ll be rooting for McBroom and the Billikens next season.

“I think that was wonderful and nice of them,” says Cheney.  “I told them thank you.”

“It makes me feel good that we chose the right guy,” says McBroom.

Just goes to show a little bit of goodwill can be a game changer.