When Jerry Ahiqvist helped a homeless man he had seen around his hometown in Calle Kiruna, Sweden, he never expected to be taken on a wild journey leading to a heartwarming reunion.
His story, which he posted on Facebook, begins with him explaining how he met the young man: "So yesterday I found a homeless person that was acting a bit strange, he seemed confused and was walking back and forth. I brought him home and cleaned him, gave him some food and new clothes and a clean bed to sleep in."
"He is kind of hard to communicate with, he gets lost in his thoughts, takes a long time to answer questions and he just stares into nothing. He has told me some information about himself but ends every sentence with 'sort of' so the information can also be incorrect."
Jerry then explained how he is Swedish so some of his translations may be interpreted wrong.
"He told me his name is Niall Akin, it could be some variation to that like Niel or Nail. Same with his last name, he just told me Akin' and when I asked him if it is spelled A K I N he just said 'sort of'
"He said he is twenty-six years old and that he used to work in IT, somewhere around Leeds (U.K). He also said he was born and raised in that region (sort of) so somewhere in the middle of the country, I guess.
Jerry explained how he can't help but have the feeling that Nial's family is concerned about his whereabouts and maybe looking for him. He also described how he is "confused and he is not capable of taking care of himself."
Jerry had previously shared Niall's story on a missing person's site but had been unsuccessful.
"Anyway, he is currently in a small town Calle Kiruna way up north in Sweden. I think he needs some help but I don't know what to do?"
The post was quickly shared across Facebook as people tried to locate whether Niall had a family in Britain and if they knew where he was.
A page was created called "Saving Nial and getting him home to the U.K." There, many people began raising money to help Nial return home to his family. A GoFundMe was also created to help raise money for plane tickets for the 3,000-mile journey, where it has currently raised kr36,912 ($4,261).
And then, Maura Roberts, Nial's mother, posted a message on the page:
"I am Nial's Mum. The police have just left my house. I have been on the phone with the British Embassy in Sweden and am about to complete paperwork for the Lucie Blackman trust.
"This is not a scam. I have not seen my very unwell son since 1st August 2019. I personally didn't ask for the fundraiser to be started but if medical treatment needs to be paid for that may help."
She went on to say how much she appreciates the love and support she has received, especially from Jerry, who has been regularly giving updates on the situation, explaining how it is more complex to reunite mother and son as "the way authorities and police and healthcare works is similar in the U.K as it is in Sweden. But there's a lot of rabbit holes that he can go down to.
"We are consulting with experienced health care nurses who work in psychiatric hospitals and with both mental and drug issues. So they have a lot of experience in what happens when you call the police with people with psychosis and with people with underlying mental health disorders." Jerry explained in a video.
Jerry went on to explain that if he were to be taken to a hospital in Sweden he will be treated for his psychosis but will not treat his underlying mental health issues as he is not a Swedish citizen. Furthermore, they are afraid that he will get a little better and then run away.
"That's why he ended up here in the first place. Because Kirana is a distant place. It's far up north in Sweden and it's hard to get here. So if you end up here, you kind of want to end up here.
"We need to do this the right way and the proper way and the way that's best for now," Jerry says.
So, where from here? Jerry urges people to understand that the next step they feel is necessary is arranging some kind of contact center in Kirana and finding volunteers to help with the administration work surrounding government documents, healthcare, and working with the British and Swedish Embassy. Nial, out of his own choice, lives in a small caravan just outside town, where he has no one bothering him.
For now, Jerry has asked for people to just be patient and show support while they try to give Nial and his family the facilities to help them be reunited.
We sincerely hope Nial can get home and be reunited with his family very soon.