NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 95-year-old woman hoping to meet the man featured in a now-viral commercial for the Nashville Rescue Mission will never get the chance.
Michelle Sanders Brinson, a spokesperson for the Nashville Rescue Mission, said Martin Ollenberger, a guest of the Mission who starred in the commercial, passed away last year after a cancer diagnosis.
Brinson said she walked into work at the Mission a few days ago and learned a woman had called to say her 95-year-old aunt had fallen in love with Ollenberger. She asked if her aunt could meet him, but Brinson informed the woman that Ollenberger had died in 2018.
The Mission gets frequent requests from people asking about Ollenberger and wanting to help him, Brinson explained.
“After filming the commercial, I got to know Martin,” she told News 2. “His story is near and dear to me, so I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that it’s pretty special to others as well.”
The Mission shot the commercial in 2015 and chose to use Ollenberger, a real man experiencing homelessness, rather than an actor.
The commercial features Ollenberger singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” while pushing a shopping cart through the streets of Nashville.
It airs frequently on News 2 and WKRN.com.