MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - When a paramedic gave a homeless man a little bit of money years ago, she thought the worst, but it turns out, he used that money to buy a new life. Now, he’s helping others in their path to recovery.
Jeanah Nomelli and William Levens recent ran into each other again at another gas station.
Their friendship started more than a decade ago when Nomelli saw Levens digging through a dumpster and went to investigate.
"She had a few things to say that touched my heart, and that's when I began to share with her a little bit about my life,” Levens said.
Nomelli was and still is a paramedic, and Levens was living underneath a bridge, heartbroken and battling addiction.
"The love of my life for 13 and a half years passed away, and I began to hate everything and everyone," Levens said.
After months of sharing their lives, Levens had a way out. He could get help from a program, but he needed an ID card.
He promised Nomelli that if she gave him $7, he would spend it to buy that ID and not use it on drugs.
After she handed him the money, he disappeared. With no word from her friend, she thought the worst had happened.
"I really did think that he may have used it to get drugs,” Nomelli said.
More than 10 years passed and Nomelli would find herself at another gas station with a familiar stranger waiting for her by the bathroom.
“My first instinct was why is this guy standing here staring at me?" Nomelli said.
"I said, ‘You remember me?’ And I was just bawling, bawling my eyes out at the time because I found my sister again,” Levens said.
It turns out, Levens did keep his promise
"I went and got my ID, just like I told her I would. I was able to start work because without an ID, you can't work,” Levens said.
He's no longer homeless and is even helping other people with their recovery.
"Will has always had an inner light, and it's always shined,” Nomelli said.
It's a love that has been put to action to save each other as well as others.
''Because I know she's got the same passion as I do, to help others, and that's what we're gonna do,” Levens said.
Levens says his goal is to start his own program to help people.
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