For 30 years, Mick Myers lived on the streets of California with nothing and no one. He was a self-described loner who panhandled for cash along the highway.
Mick was never married and he never had children. The only love he ever knew came from his adopted mother. He felt ignored by the world around him but found passion in the music he played outside the train station for whatever money he could collect.
Deputy Jacob Swalwell of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was well aware of Mick’s presence in the community. He had warned Mick on several occasions to stop begging for money, since it’s illegal.
But one day, he decided to handle things a bit differently. Jacob decided to actually take the time to learn more about the homeless man and his circumstances. He realized that writing Mick a citation wouldn’t help him at all.
Jacob came to learn that Mick is 67 years old and at the time, he had no social security, no identification cards and no one to help him. The kindhearted deputy knew he had to step in and get Mick’s life on track. However, even with the department’s resources, it took three trips to the DMV for Mick to obtain the necessary ID. Jacob was able to get Mick on Medicaid and receive social security benefits.
But there was still a huge part of the puzzle missing: reconnecting Mick with his birth family. Meanwhile, a private investigator was on the case. And 250 miles away, after six decades, Mick’s true identity began to emerge.
His journey may have started under an overpass near an intersection in Hayward, but little did Myers know that the next stop for the 67-year-old would be discovering his birth mother was still alive.
Myers had always wanted to know what happened to his birth mother: was she even still alive? He knew his real last name was Oakley and that his birth mother’s first name was Marie.
With Myers’ blessings, Mark Askins, a private investigator, dug through old ledger books at the Alameda County Court House for information about any surviving relatives.
In a large, leather-bound canvas book, Askins had a “eureka” moment and was able to locate and call Myers' birth mother.
Mother and son chatted about their lives and agreed that they should meet in person. About two weeks later, for the first time in his life, Myers got on a small plane, piloted by a volunteer crew, along with Deputy Swalwell.
Myers got off the plane with a new guitar — surprise gift from Deputy Swalwell — and a high school year book that he wanted to show his birth mom.
Immediately Myers met some of his new extended family.
His niece Shannon came to the airport to provide transportation. As he walked off the tarmac, she greeted him and extended her hand.
“I’d be your niece,” said Shannon.
Mick opened his eyes wide and said “Niece?”as he shook her hand.
Also present at the airport was Polly’s third husband, Gary. He too welcomed his new stepson.
The trio of visitors piled into Shannon’s car and off they went for a short drive to Polly’s home.
Then, as Myers walked through the door, he saw his mother. She spied him and they hugged tightly for the first time in 65 years.
“Who’d have thought that something like this could have happened to anybody — let alone me!” proclaimed Myers.
“I want to see where your wings are, because you brought my son home to me,” she told him.
Polly showed him family pictures on the wall and an album that included photos of him as a toddler that she had kept.
Myers also spoke to his older brother by phone. It was a quiet, intense call.