Florida Man Helps Homeless Woman Learn How to Read

Greg Smith passed a woman every day on the way to work before helping her.

ByABC News
April 30, 2016, 5:47 PM
Greg Smith is helping a Florida homeless woman he calls "Amy Joe" learn how to read.
Greg Smith is helping a Florida homeless woman he calls "Amy Joe" learn how to read.
Courtesy Greg Smith

— -- A Florida man who was moved by a homeless woman who never asked him for money, even though he passed her every day on his way to work, said he finally found a way to help her only after she “dropped a bomb” on him – she never learned to read.

Greg Smith wrote in a now viral Facebook post that a woman who introduced herself as "Amy Jo" offered him polite greetings instead of requests for money as he went by her daily on his way to work in downtown Orlando. It led to the two having lunch every Tuesday.

"For 30 min to an hour I get to hear how positive she is even though she really has nothing," he wrote.

During one of those sitdowns, Smith, 25, wrote that his new friend "dropped a bomb on me."

"She cannot read. Amy Jo does not smoke, drink, have a drug addiction, or anything to that nature," he explained. "She simply just has never had anyone teach her how to read.

"She began to tell me any money that she can collect she uses to check out library books that help with learning to read instead of buying FOOD," Smith continued. "So now not only do Amy Jo and I sit and have lunch, I'm teaching her to read. I rent one library book a week and we read it together Tuesday and she practices on her own throughout the rest of the week."

Smith told ABC News that Amy Jo was ecstatic about their weekly reading date.

"She lit up! I could see in her face that she felt amazing," he said.

The sales account executive said he shared Amy Jo's story not to brag, but to inspire others to be kind.

And thanks to the large response, Smith started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a new foundation he said he plans to start to benefit the homeless in his community. He's dubbed it the Amy Jo Foundation. As of Saturday, he's raised a little more than $1,000 and has already met with a lawyer to develop the organization, he said. He has even decided on his slogan: "One person at a time."

"I want to be able to help anybody, whether it be giving them some food or clothes," Smith said. "I don't want to just narrow it down to helping people read because there's so many other people that need more help."

And how does Amy Jo feel about what she's started?

Smith said he told her that their story went viral Friday.

"She thought it was amazing," he added. "She said, 'I can't wait!'"