Speed Reads


Homeless man gets his Thanksgiving wish: To celebrate the day with a family

This Thanksgiving, all Neal Shytles wanted was to have dinner with family — any family.

The 54-year-old has lived in a Norfolk, Virginia, homeless shelter for two years, and said the holidays are his loneliest time. "It hurts every day of the year but on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's 10 times worse being by yourself," he told ABC News. After talking with some friends from the shelter, he decided to put up a personal ad on Facebook, titled "Wanted: A family to share Thanksgiving with." He posted it to the pages of news sites in the area, and was interviewed by one of the stations.

Ashley McLemore watched the segment from Newport News, and she says that hearing Shytles' story "broke my heart." After conferring with her husband, McLemore extended an invitation to spend Thanksgiving lunch and dinner at her home, which Shytles happily accepted. Since his story went viral, the shelter has received an influx in donations, and Shytles has been invited to visit families across the U.S. He is looking forward to spending time in a "family atmosphere" this Thanksgiving. "That's all I ever wanted in life," he said. "I didn't ask for money. For me, it was never about the riches. I want something to take away the loneliness, where I can love people and they love me back."