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Florida man walks 400 miles to Department of Economic Opportunity

Gainesville WCJB-TV logo Gainesville WCJB-TV 5/7/2020 Claudia Bellofatto
a man with a helmet on the street © Provided by Gainesville WCJB-TV

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- Thousands of people across North Central Florida remain out of work and waiting on the approval of their unemployment application, with many people claiming they've heard or received nothing in weeks.

Beau Guyott decided he was going to take the problem to the state Senate. He's on a mission, walking all the way from his home in Palm Beach County to Tallahassee. Along the way, he is meeting with small business owners and sharing their stories on social media.

"This needs to be presented to members of the Legislature … anyone … somebody has to hear the stories."

Beau Guyott has been collecting hundreds of stories from people across Florida on his three week journey.

"Now it's gotten to the point where people are just thirsting for someone to answer the phone. We're creeping up on two months now ... so desperation is the first word that comes to mind," he said.

Guyott lost his job at a hotel in West Palm Beach back in March, along with 70 of his coworkers … all of which have faced issues with the unemployment application process.

After seeing how many people he knew struggling, Guyott started emailing state officials with questions and concerns.

"My coworkers were being kicked off the site, their pins were being lost, their social security numbers weren't registering. It was incredibly frustrating … so I started emailing and reaching out to state officials," he said.

But when that didn't work…

"I was literally sitting at home applying for jobs online waiting to hear back from the DEO ... I thought about walking to Tallahassee and that's how it was born," he said.

Guyott said his plan for when he gets to Tallahassee is to first present the stories he has gathered along the way. He then plans to volunteer at the DEO -- to not only help Floridians with the process but also get a better idea of the problem at hand.

"You're hearing that things are being fixed or things are being worked on … but you're sitting in front of your computer or on your phone and that result is not … they don't match , they don't match," Guyott said, "that's another facet to this walk ... I'd like to get to the bottom of that."


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