Glenn Gannon is an actor, writer, and volunteer from Dublin. Fifteen years ago, though, Gannon was living on the streets after he lost everything.
On Tuesday, Gannon was featured on the Facebook page "Humans Of Dublin".
Gannon shared his story about how a chance encounter with a kind stranger on New Year's Eve inspired him to change everything:
The turning point of my life was a young girl in 1999 walking by with her boyfriend at Christchurch on New Year's Eve. It was lashing rain and I was sitting on some concrete steps with my long hair and beard, listening to the bells, wondering where my family were and how they were. Out of nowhere the young girl kneeld down in front of me, and like an angel with her blue eyes, said 'Hi! What's your name?' I had to think. Nobody calls you by your name on the streets. 'It's Glenn,' I told her, and she asked 'What would make you happy Glenn?' I said 'I'm okay, I'm happy. I'm in a brave phrase. Thanks for asking.' She went back to her boyfriend and got some cans from him and a pack of cigarettes and handed them to me. Then she asked again 'If you could have one wish what would it be?' I told her I wished to be with my family. 'So why don't you go home?' She asked. I said no, that it'd been too long - three and half years. And she said 'Just go!' Just like that. This girl in her late twenties being the wisest person in the world. Then she gave me a kiss on the cheek and wished me a happy New Year.
She's out there somewhere not knowing what she did that day. You can make a difference in someone's life that you might never meet again. You have the power. The best thing you can take from this world is the belief that you made a difference. I went home the next day.
The post has been shared thousands of times and received a hugely positive response from other Facebook users.
Gannon told BuzzFeed News about the unfortunate events that led to him becoming homeless.
"Back in 1997 I was a retailer – I had a shop in Dublin, Ireland, and eight members of my extended family worked for me including my then wife and our two teenage girls, so I was a pretty successful 48-year-old guy," he said.
"And in one year I lost it all – my shop, my marriage, my home, and my parents who were both ill died within months of each other, so by March of 1998 I was homeless. I slept beside the river and in doorways and alleyways for over three years until my meeting with the girl, who spoke to me (and) stirred something inside of me – I thought was dead – my will to live."
Gannon said that he has never tracked down the girl who changed his life. He is now a volunteer with homeless agency Dublin Simon Community, and has written a book about his life that profits the charity.
"I see it as fate moved her to move me and her spiritual work was done. We all have that power within and it is up to us to use it," he said.
"As Gandhi said, 'Be the change you want to see in the world.'"
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at email@example.com.
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