Family Reunites With Missing Son After Seeing Him in Random Newspaper Photo

Nicholas Simmons
Nicholas Simmons
On New Year's Day, 20-year-old Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his family's home in upstate New York. But on Sunday, completely by chance, Nicholas' photo appeared in a local paper, the Democrat and Chronicle, alongside a story about the cold weather that's sweeping Washington, D.C. In the photo, Nick was seen leaning against a steam grate for warmth with, as the caption stated, "three other homeless men near the Federal Trade Commission, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol." Serendipitously, Simmons' family spotted the photo, and Nick was then taken to George Washington University Hospital by police, before being picked up by his family.

After Nick was found, his mother, Michelle Simmons, wrote on a now-defunct Facebook page: "Nick is alive and obviously not well. (We) are going to get him home safe and this is by far the greatest example of God's love and divine intervention I have ever experienced. I am beyond able to put into words how I am feeling."

It's unclear how, exactly, Nick made it to D.C. He was last seen in his hometown of Greece, New York, in his car around 5 p.m. on January 1. He was driving a red 1999 Buick Century sedan, and it was not clear how he got to Washington, or whether he still had possession of his car when he was found. Also, when the photographer approached him to take his photo, Nick was very clear that he only wanted to be identified by "Nick" in the story, as opposed to his full name.

Now, clearly the chances of Nick being found this way are very slim, but to understand the odds of something like this happening, consider this: Simmons' photo had been selected by USA Today from a huge subscription photo agency, which carries thousands of photos at any given moment. The agency had 126 pictures depicting cold weather across the country, and three of them were of Simmons, but only in one of them could his face be clearly seen -- and that was the one they used. Kind of crazy.

Whether you believe in fate or not, it seems like Nick was meant to be reunited with his family. The odds of this photo running -- and his family seeing it -- are just too slim. It was meant to be. And it's a good thing, because it doesn't look like much good was going to come out of him being on his own. Thoughts and prayers to both Nick and his family.

Do you believe in fate?


Image via Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Corbis

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I definitely believe in fate and the, especially, the Grace of God.  I am happy his family found him--I hope he continues to get the help he needs.

Sarah Cazier

Um... is Nick unsound in some way? If an adult decides this fate for themselves then shouldn't you respect that decision and leave them be? Nick left for a reason and now his family is forcing him to return. Unless of course... true to much of the writing here... there is a big fat chunk of the story missing.

Lawry Crosby

If he wanted to truly stay lost he would've never agreed to be photographed...I think it was a cry for help and thankfully it was received and answered.

merma... mermaid13dragon

lots missing from this story... was he mentally ill? Was he reported missing? Hello Stir, your writers need some serious details work in their reporting,... 

Melissa Anne

There are no other details to write about, I live near where NIck is from, even the local news has no details of why he left.


Angieleigh Eads

His mother did state that it's obvious he's unwell. Thank God he's back with his family who can take care of him. 

eggsb... eggsbenedict

Please dont take him home, take him to a mental health place for help.

nonmember avatar Erika

It sounds like he didn't want to be found

nonmember avatar Rachel

I don't believe this is fate. I believe this is a miracle from God.

nonmember avatar Lori-Anne Ferul

Yes I somewhat believe in the all mighty, I'm happy that Nick is with.his family an safe .

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