JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - He's hard to miss. A man pushing a lawn mower while carrying a sign that says, "Will work for food."
Johnny Addison, 42, is homeless. He's set up camp behind a dilapidated home on Jacksonville's Westside, near the Normandy Boulevard off-ramp from Interstate 295.
The property owner knows he's sleeping on a mattress under the carport out back, but lets him stay because Addison keeps watch over the old house, even mowing and raking the lawn for free.
Addison has been on the streets for about seven years now, living day-to-day, thanks to random work he's given by strangers.
Most days you'll find Addison on that busy interstate off-ramp, holding his sign, his mower within reach, hoping someone needs their lawn cut so he has money to buy food.
When asked how he can be so happy, having only four or five blankets to keep him warm during the recent brutally cold nights, Addison replied, "I have a clean bill of health, I have access to make money with my lawn mower. It could be worse, but I'm blessed to be here."
Just a few weeks ago, when night temperatures dipped into the 30s and 40s, Johnny changed the request on his sign -- he desperately needed shoes.
Driving down off the interstate, 28-year-old Nate Wescott read Addison's sign and rolled down his window.
"He was like, 'Sir, do you really need shoes?' and I was like, 'Yes sir, I really do, and I'm willing to work for them right now,'" Addison recounts.
"It was pretty cold, and really windy, hitting in the 40s, and he had thong sandals on," Wescott recalled, shaking his head.
That exchange happened so fast, Addison didn't get a chance to truly thank the good Samaritan for his generosity.
Wescott didn't realize the strangers in the car behind him were honking their horn in approval, wanting to anonymously reward him for his good deed.
"What?!" Wescott exclaimed, shaking his head when Channel 4 showed up with a photographer to deliver the gift. "I didn't do it for anything in return," Wescott assured us.
It could be seen that Wescott was so uncomfortable even talking about the good deed he had done.
"You don't always get the perfect opportunity like that," Wescott said quietly, shaking his head. "He really needed the shoes, it was cold. It just worked out."
"You do something good, something good will find you every time," Addison said with a smile. "Never fails. Promise you! Now it's gonna get tough, like it always does every winter."
If you have any odd jobs for which you could use Addison's help, you may call 904-444-2477 to reach or leave him a message. He said he doesn't want any handouts or any sympathy, just work.
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