Homeless man’s Facebook ad asks for family for Thanksgiving

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NORFOLK, Va. -- A Thanksgiving adoption?

Neal Shytles doesn't have much to his name.

"This is bed 13," he says, pointing out a bottom bunk at the Union Mission Ministries men's shelter. "This is where I lived for a year."

Neal is homeless and has been staying at the shelter in Norfolk for a year and a half now.

What he lacks in possessions, Neal makes up for with heart.

"You know I'm grateful for even being here," he says.

It's a heart that is hurting. He's surrounded by hundreds of people every day, but still Neal feels alone.

"I am lonely like 365 days a year but Christmas and Thanksgiving are two of the worst days, and I really miss having some kind of family atmosphere around me," Neal says.

Last week, he reached out to WTKR. He posted a wanted ad on its Facebook page, asking for a family to take him in for Thanksgiving.

Credit: WTKR

Credit: WTKR

"It would mean the world to me if somebody took me in," he says. "Just for that one day, for a couple hours."

Neal grew up in Hampton Roads, graduating from Princess Anne High School in 1980, but says he has no family left nearby.

"It hurts me to be alone, no family or nobody around," Neal says.

It's a position Neal says he never thought he would be in. After 15 years of driving a taxi, Neal lost his job and the bills piled up.

"Everything that I'd saved up I started dishing out to people that were taking me in and everything was gone," he says. "When I was dropped off at the front door here, I was one of these people that never thought I would be here."

He now rents a room at the shelter, using money he collects from Social Security.

Lining up for dinner, Neal is thankful for every meal and handout he gets.

But what he wants most is something money can't buy.

"It would mean so much, because you know like I said, I'm lonely and it`s just forming that relationship with somebody would be so important to me. It would mean so much and I would really cherish it."


  • CA Resident

    This is truly heart breaking :-( I would love to take him in, unfortunately I live in CA. :-( &don’t have the funds to transport him. My family doesn’t have much, but you can be sure we would definitely share. I will be praying for you Neal. May God bless you and may He put it in someones heart living in your area to make your wish come true♡.

  • Loreesa

    I would love to take him in so much ppl need help out there and I love helping ppl !!.. If I have to I’ll but I up for the night

  • Texas Angel

    How heartbreaking! So sorry for his loss. The amazing Lord will bring him through this. Not sure if he or anyone he knows has access to internet but there’s an awesome site called Gofundme.com. I know that won’t help with the problem of finding a partner for him but the good Lord knows what he’s doing by waiting to present him with one so when God does give him his soul mate. He will be the happiest man on Earth. When God is ready He will give it to him but until then, patience is a virtue. I’ve been waiting 6 years and still haven’t been blessed but not giving up on my faith. May God bless you with your needs and desires. Wishing the best of luck!!!

  • R.Diaz

    So sad. I pray he finds a good family that he can make a second family with. I was homeless once. But just for a short time. Its so hard. I know for a fact most of them don’t go to sleep without crying. The loneliness is so much more then any words can say. I pray that a special beautiful family opens they’re hearts. Not one homeless should feel this way or be alone for the holidays. They are people. Not animals. God bless the family who gives this man a chance and to anyone who gives love to any homeless especially during the holidays.

  • Samantha

    Unfortunately this manis in Virginia, but anyone in need near Chula Vista is welcome to come to the Panera at H St mall on Thanksgiving Day from 10am to 2pm. We will be serving thanksgiving dinner there free for people/families in need. Please reply to me if you know someone who wants to go so I can get them the papers.

  • Lorena

    My heart just broke. Unfortunately this is the reality of most of the homeless people in the United States. If I lived near by I would invite him in for the holidays. May God help him find a loving family that will invite him in. Prayers to the man. Best of luck.

  • Dani

    I wish I wasn’t in Cali so I could take him in. Thanksgiving is always small, just my mom, brother and I, but we always have a lot of good food and warmth.

  • amy

    He can come to my Thanksgiving, but I.live so far away. I cannot afford to fly him here, but we always open our home to those with no where to go that day.. I wish I could good a way to get him to Arizona and back.

  • Kind Heart

    If Alaska wasn`t so distant, I`d accept him in a heartbeat – no questions asked. Anyone out there should be thankful to have what they do. Because you never know what you have until it`s gone .. My heart to Neal on his Thanksgiving Blessing.

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