AUSTIN, Texas – A homeless Austin man who had his bed set on fire during weekend protests in the state capital said he has no ill will toward the people who burned his belongings.
A viral video posted to Twitter Sunday showed the man grabbing a mattress that had been thrown onto a fire on the streets of downtown Austin, near Interstate 35 during the nationwide George Floyd protests. The video has been viewed millions of times online.
ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman tweeted Sunday that the man’s name is Cale and he lives in front of her building.
“These protests are happening on top of a homeless encampment. People’s actual homes have been destroyed. I spoke to Cale this morning, and he was covered in vomit and ash," Huseman said in a Twitter post.
It’s not clear who the people that burned the man’s mattress are, but most online commenters believe they were not associated with the protesters marching for racial justice. Similarly, a group of unaffiliated agitators has been blamed by city officials in San Antonio for the destruction that occurred hours after the peaceful march had ended.
But there’s good news: An update from a TikTok video, posted by @uncorked shows the same man seemingly happy and announcing donations of a tent, new air mattress, food, clothes and money.
“Thank you Austin. I love you Austin. You’re the best. No hard feelings at all. Just at a bad place at a bad time," the man says in the video.
The original video can be seen below. Please be advised that the video below contains graphic language.
This is Austin. This man’s name is Cale, and he lives in front of my building. https://t.co/26RXxjfJsI— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) June 1, 2020
There have been several GoFundMe’s set up for Cale, however, KSAT has not been able to determine the validity of their origin and whether or not the money donated will go to Cale.