The Goodness Of Strangers

Did you hear about the homeless man who found the six year old autistic boy? The boy's name is Sergio Zepeda, and he suffers from autism. The boy had been missing from his San Jose, California home for almost 24 hours while they searched for him. 

For some reason, he had stripped off all his clothes and managed to get across train tracks until he stumbled upon a makeshift homeless encampment.

Jose Salmeron, who lives there with his wife, looked out his tent in the wee hours of the morning when he heard a sound, and saw the boy. 

The boy was unable to speak. The 32 year old man borrowed a phone and called 911. Then they gave the boy a blanket, a sweater, a donut and some water, while they waited for police to arrive.

The family say the boy vanished about 9 a.m. Saturday. How he found his way to the homeless encampment miles away from his home, no one knows.

The police department wants to nominate Salmeron for the Good Samaritan Award, but the man doesn't feel deserving of the praise.

"We're not heroes," Salmeron said. "It was the only right thing to do. When you see a helpless kid like that, you are supposed to do the right thing, and just call the cops right away. Thank God he didn't get hit by a train or fall into the water."

It is a quiet afternoon. Looked like it might rain for awhile. But now it is sunny outside. I'm sitting here watching the ornamental grass plumes nod in the breeze. They remind me of wheat out in a field.

The dogs are asleep. Abi in one of the dog beds. And here's Charlie...

The boy is not happy unless he is completely covered by something. He roots around trying to pull up quilts and blankets and sheets, finding a little spot to curl up and snooze.

The flowers are fading fast. But I did find a cheap pot of yellow mums at Walmart when I did my grocery shopping.

Every year, I find myself wanting a pot of yellow mums to herald in the fall season. 


  1. What a lovely story, Brenda. It's just a shame we only read about the bad stuff in the news, not things like that. Enjoy the move into Autumn. Hugs, Chris x

  2. So many kind and good people out there, nice to hear someone get some nonrecognition! I always buy yellow Mums also...just says fall to me.

  3. Thank you for sharing this story. I hate reading the news, it is so depressing. But I do keep up on the news sometimes with Brian Williams. The first 29 minutes is filled with doom and gloom and Glade commercials. Then boom, a 60 second goodie at the very end. I should just watch the last 60 seconds. I love mums. I have to really watch myself around this time of year because those mums are calling me....come get all of us in every color! I do adore the orangish color myself. Happy hump day! It is going to be triple digits for the next three to five days. Talk about gloom! I am so sick of this dry, hot weather.

  4. I agree with Jose..we shouldn't have to be rewarded for doing the right thing for others.."doing the right thing" should be second nature to us..I would neither expect or want attention for helping any person or animal that needs my help..Brenda I used to have a cat long ago that did the same as Charlie..she loved to sleep under the covers on the is so cute!

  5. He is a hero whether he believes it or not.

    Yellow mums are the best. :)

  6. applause and cheers for Jose~! That little boy needed and angel and sure enough he walked right up to one.
    Often, our spirit guides will show us just what to do and this sure sounds like one of those times.

    I hadnt heard this story so thanks for sharing it...Brought a smile to my face.

  7. Amazing story - what a saviour that man was for that little boy.

    As for yellow mums - I love them. They help to add sunshine to the gloomier autumn days. I have a big pot of them on the porch that a friend brought when we moved into our new home 2 weeks ago. They brighten my day!

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

  8. That little boy was so lucky that he found someone kind to help him like Jose. Lovely story. And I agree that yellow mums are so pretty this time of year, as well as all the lovely autumn shades. Charlie must be going into hibernation mode, it seems like he's always looking for someplace to hide!

  9. I'm glad that story had a happy ending. That had to be so scary for the parents! That boy is lucky he had an honest person find him and not some molester. Yellow mums are a great way to bring in Fall. I rarely buy mums because it's so warm here during the Fall. They don't last very long.

  10. It's exactly how we should all act...isn't it sad that it has to be newsworthy? It's just human decency.

  11. A great ending to what could have been much different. Thank goodness it was that encampment that child wandered into. Horrific times for his parents, I'm sure. I love how the dogs each have their own place for napping! They can be so funny, can't they? I love watching grasses grow, so calming.

  12. I had not seen that story / glad that you did! :)

  13. those are the real heros that want no attention or accolades . Didn't you shop on line for your groceries at one time? do you still do that?

  14. There are so many stories of simple good deeds out there. It is too bad that we have to search for them through all of the negative news. Love your yellow mum. xo Laura

  15. Have I missed out on something? Why is everything different when posting a comment? Just wondering if it's everyone or just me. The way today is going, it could be just me! Loved the story of the lost boy. I have to ask myself, if I had saved him as the homeless man did, would I be wise enough to turn down any accolades? I sure hope I would because as the man said, it's the right thing to do.

  16. Such a great story.
    Poor little guy. I feel so bad for the homeless. Bless his heart for helping this child.
    I have problems with the word hero. Not because of this story but just in general. For example, a outstanding sport star, is not a hero in my book. This guy, yes he is.

  17. Wonderful story. It just goes to show that all homeless people are not criminal perverts, contrary to the way they are sometimes portrayed.

  18. I had not hear/read this story. On this day we all need to be reminded of the heroes of out country. The heroes come in all forms. They could be police officers helping people out of a building that has just had a plane crash into it, or a stranger helping someone run in terror from falling buildings. Or in the case of your story a homeless helping the helpless.
    Touched my heart it did. Today is an emotional day and your story made a huge impact on me.

  19. This is a great pick-me-up story...kindness exists in the most surprising places.

    I love yellow mums! I may be tossing my pots of annuals out today...they look so tired and faded. Not sure why. Last year's went right into October. Do you ever read your posts from the year before? Funny how you forget what you were up to then, how things were.

    Jane xx

  20. Just helping my 7 year old granddaughter study for a quiz on good citizenship. This would make a very good lesson on being a good citizen. Just doing what is right!!! Not doing it for recognition or personal gain.

  21. He sounds like a hero to me! Too many people in the world look away and don't do the right thing. Love those mums!

  22. wouldn't it be sweet if the newscasts every day were full of these stories instead of the doom & gloom stories journalists always focus on?

    I hadn't heard this story, but I'm so glad I did.

    Thanks for sharing!

  23. A wonderful story!

    I agree with the man - doing the right thing is not heroic. I would ask my students to help another student and they would ask "what will I get for it?" I would always respond, "the knowledge that you did the right thing."


I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you!


Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Author Bio

Brenda has been writing since grade school. She majored in professional writing/journalism in college, where she won awards for her feature writing. She loves to decorate, garden, enjoy nature, read and spend time with her Yorkies.


Back to Top