Homeless Man's Tires Slashed, Community Comes Together - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Homeless Man's Tires Slashed, Community Comes Together

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SEAFORD, Del. - Sean Fluharty is homeless. He works two jobs and is saving money for a place to live. The first step toward that goal was purchasing a car-- a 1998 Oldsmobile. It had aged, but to Fluharty, it was so much more than just a way to get around.

"It's a whole lot better than living in a tent like I used to," he says.

In the winter months, Fluharty stays at a Code Purple shelter in Seaford. On Sunday morning, he woke up there and went outside, only to see that someone had slashed all four of his tires.

"I thought, 'Wow. Someone doesn't like me out here,'" he recalls.

Fluharty says he thinks he knows who slashed his tires, and is hoping to get footage from a nearby security camera to help police with their investigation. He filed a police report and then told Jim Martin, who runs the ACE Peer Resource Center  in Seaford, where Fluharty spends a lot of time. Martin posted about Fluharty's plight on Facebook, seeing if anyone in the community had tires that might fit the car. Jack Mullins Jr, who owns Mullins Auto Brokers in Greenwood, was scrolling through Facebook this morning when he saw the post and felt compelled to act.

"It struck me: I can definitely help this guy. I'm in the car business. I can definitely get discounts on tires," he tells WBOC. "[It's nothing] for me to give this guy four tires, so I just felt obligated to do something."

So Mullins' crew went and picked up Fluharty's car, with the intention of replacing the tires and tuning up anything that needed it. But when they took a closer look, they realized the motor was shot. Mullins said in that moment, he knew what he had to do.

"There is no way I'm going to let this cause him to lose help, so my wife and I decided we want to give him a car, with a warranty," he wrote to Martin. "With a little help, he can go a long way and keep his hopes high and keep trying--knowing the community has his back."

Just like that, Fluharty was soon-to-be an owner of a used 2006 Pontiac G-6. But with $500 still needed for taxes, tags and a warranty. Martin turned to Facebook again. Within minutes, Ryan McCracken with the Boulevard Ford dealership commented, saying the dealership would completely cover it. Martin was blown away.

"It's an amazing gift to be able to share something like that on Facebook," he says. "People immediately get it. They plug in and they make it happen."

As of press time--hours later--people are still commenting on Martin's post, volunteering to pitch in. Mullins says any money donated to them will go toward a gas card for Fluharty and/or a hotel room until the donations run out. Martin says social media has revolutionized the community's connection to the homeless in Sussex County. 

"A lot of times when you say homeless, people say, 'Who are the homeless and where are they?'" he tells WBOC. "But when you hear one specific story about a specific person and their specific struggle, you say, we have to help. And Sean is someone that you can rally around because he's trying to do the right stuff."

Fluharty will pick up his new car on Tuesday, which happens to also be his birthday. But he's is already looking past that point.

"I can't wait for an opportunity to pay it forward to the next person in line," he says. "Because that's the way it should be."

Anyone interested in donating may contact Mullins Auto Brokers

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