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A Guy Gathered Volunteers To Paint An Old Man's House After Teens Called It Ugly

Josh Cyganik said he'd seen the older man sitting on his porch every day, and it bothered him to see the man shamed for the state of his home.

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Josh Cyganik, a 35-year-old track inspector for Union Pacific Railroad in Pendleton, Oregon, was working across the street when he saw two teens pass the house. One called it the "fucking ugliest house I'ver ever seen," and said it should be burned down, Cyganik told BuzzFeed News.

Cyganik heard the comments from where he was standing. So did the resident of the home, 75-year-old Leonard Bullock. The older man was a familiar sight to Cyganik, who saw him daily sitting on the porch.

The comments appeared to get to Bullock, who hung his head -- and that bothered Cyganik. In the four years he had worked across the street, he hadn't talked to the man, but he waved at him every day.

"I was brought up to treat people with respect, respect your elders," Cyganik told BuzzFeed News. "He didn't deserve that. I had to do something."

Cyganik talked to a friend at the local Tum-A-Lum Lumber Company, which agreed to donate paint. He then asked Bullock if he could paint his house.

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Bullock, who had some mobility issues, was floored by the offer of help.

"He was speechless," Cyganik said.

He asked a few railroad coworkers to help with the labor, and also asked for volunteers in a post on Facebook. That post was shared more than 6,000 times.

When painting day came, more than 100 volunteers showed up.

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"There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer," Cyganik said.

The fresh coat of paint now gives Bullock a sense of pride as he sits on the porch. "Every time I see him, I wave to him still," Cyganik said. "He just smiles from ear to ear."

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The story of Cyganik's good deed has since been shared around the world, something that surprised him.

"For me, it was no big thing," he said.

But he said he was happy to have been part of something good at a time when much of the news is filled with negativity. He encouraged others to lend a helping hand where they saw a need.

It had taken him four years of waving at Bullock before taking that step. Now, he stops to chat regularly with the older man and check on his progress with other home improvement projects.

"Don't be afraid to go out there and help them," Cyganik said. "Don't be afraid to take the first step."

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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