Internet Users Search for John Doe's Identity

"There are very limited situations where we'll actually issue a new number," Kia Green Anderson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Social Security Administration, told

The rare cases that warrant a new number are usually cases where there's a problem with an existing number such as victims of identity theft or domestic abuse who continue to have problems, Anderson said. Obtaining a replacement number requires the presentation of several pieces of documentation.

Kyle's request is uncharted territory. Anderson did not have an answer for what someone like Kyle would have to do for a number. She suggested he contact the Social Security Administration.

In addition to the efforts for a new Social Security number, a Reddit question-and-answer session with Kyle generated new buzz about him and Reddit users have taken up Kyle's cause.

The Reddit chat generated a few leads about Kyle's previous identity.

"Nothing is solidified, and we're still on the hunt, but there were two people who believe they met him working at a Waffle House in Georgia," Wikstrom said.

The possible Waffle House connection could make sense because when Kyle recently got a job at a restaurant, he said he was amazed to find that he instinctively knew how to operate the machinery and do a stove repair. The skills led him to believe that he may have previously worked in a kitchen.

"There were also multiple people who reached out to Benjaman, offering to help him travel to Indianapolis and Denver, places he remembers various details of," Wikstrom said. "While Benjaman needs to continue working during the holidays, Benjaman indeed may travel next year, all because of the good samaritans of the Internet."

Kyle acknowledges the naysayers who may accuse him of faking his condition, but insists there would be no reason to do so.

"You'll find a lot of people who say it's all bogus, that I'm faking it for whatever reason -- but one thing's for sure: I'm not getting rich out of it," Kyle said. "I'm 64. I'm trying to get on with my life as best as I can. I figure I've got 10 more years to live considering my social and economic bracket. I can't make any long-term plans other than try to get along mostly day to day."

Many of the country's living unidentified suffer from mental illnesses that render them unable to remember who they are. Scans of their fingerprints lead to no matches, indicating that they do not have criminal records. Their faces do not appear in databases for missing people.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), working under the U.S. Department of Justice, has several databases, but does not currently have one that includes the living unidentified. But after being presented with a number of cases of living unidentified, they are developing a new database that they hope to launch by the end of this year.

"The traditional system is in dealing with unidentified deceased, but we know there are unidentified living," NamUs spokesman Todd Matthews told "We have to include the missing. They're missing from somewhere."

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