Two women in Texas have launched a fundraising campaign so that a homeless man might get a proper funeral.
When Duc Van Tran disappeared from his usual spot beneath an overpass in Houston, Adriana Castro Garcia and Rosa Quintero took notice.
The two local women didn’t know the man very well, but had occasionally checked in on him, bringing him food and other items.
Tran always minded his own business, they said, and never asked for help or begged for change. “He would just give a look of ‘thank you’ with a smile and go back to his cart, back to minding his own business,” they wrote on a GoFundMe page for the man, launched this week.
Tran’s disappearance worried them, so they began asking around for his whereabouts. The women soon learned that he had been killed in May after being struck by a drunk driver.
According to police, Tran had likely been sleeping under the overpass when a 33-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle and ran him over. When Quintero called the medical examiner’s office, she learned that Tran’s body was still there -- unclaimed.
"I was actually really, really sad," she told KTRK-TV after learning about Tran’s fate.
She and Garcia became determined to give Tran a proper send-off.
“I told [the medical examiner’s office]… is there a way I can somehow claim his remains, as weird as it sounds. She says, yes you can, just know that it is expensive,” Quintero told the news outlet. “I just want to be able to provide him a nice funeral.”
So far, more than $1,600 has been donated to the GoFundMe page for Tran. The goal, said Quintero and Garcia, is to “have a full and proper burial for Mr. Tran.”
“We understand how strange it may be, claiming the remains of somebody we really didn't know, but Duc Van Tran WAS a part of our community, and that's all that matters,” reads a message on the campaign page. “Family doesn't have to be blood, so long as they support and love you for who you are. And even though in life, there may have been plenty of opportunities to help Mr. Tran in a really huge way… this IS the reality. Mr. Tran may be gone, but we have the opportunity NOW to do right by him and acknowledge him as a member of our family.”
In an update to the page Wednesday, the women expressed gratitude for the “overwhelming” outpouring of support.