To the millions of people who looked at the image over their morning coffee, he was just another homeless man.
A face peering at them from the front of the newspaper.
A man fending for himself against the harshest winter weather seen in over twenty years.
But to his family he was their missing son, and they would do anything to get him back.
How they were reunited is an amazing piece of delightful luck. A bittersweet tale of homelessness and the issues that lead to it, but a reminder of just how magical the world can be when things go right.
You see, twenty-year-old Nicholas Simmons went missing on New Years Day from his hometown Greece, New York.
He left behind all his belongings including his wallet and his mobile phone.
His desperate family launched a social media campaign to try and track down their son, and also contacted local media.
But the search didn’t produce anything.
Until, to their surprise, they saw a photo of him in the local newspaper.