Ardmore officer buys blind, homeless man hotel room on freezing night

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - An Ardmore officer's act of kindness has gone viral after he bought a hotel room Monday night for a man who was blind and homeless.

Community service officer Mike Castanos was called to Mercy Hospital Monday night where a homeless man had been treated, but hospital staff did not want to release him into the cold.

The wind chill was in the mid-20s and the only overnight homeless shelter in Ardmore was full.

"This time of year, it's not unusual to have a lot of homeless folks come through that are heading south, quite frankly, to get warmer climate," Castanos said. "I felt like the only thing I needed to do at that point was find someplace warm to stay."

Castanos used his own money to buy the man a hotel room.

"I think he was grateful," Castanos said. "We were able to get him someplace where he was comfortable. He could get a shower if he wanted one, have a soft bed, which I'm sure he hadn't had in a while."

Karlie Harper is the director for the day center at the Grace Center in downtown Ardmore, a drop-in center where homeless in the community can get out of the weather, take a shower and do laundry.

Harper said around 50 people came in on Monday, about double the number the center usually sees.

"With having more people come in than normal, we also have more people come in and stay all day long where on a normal day we'll have people come in and do whatever they came here to do and go about their business," Harper said.

She said cold weather adds several health risks, including frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration.

"Because they're putting on all these layers and they feel cold so they don't recognize that their body is still perspiring," Harper said.

A picture of Castanos on Facebook telling about his act has received more than 600 reactions and several shares as of December 19.

Castanos said he has not seen the man since Monday but is glad to have done his duty to help.

"It's not all about arresting people or chasing crooks, we try to assist the public," Castanos said. "Protect and serve, that, definitely, is our business."