The man couldn’t understand what was happening to him. He figured that he was doing the same thing that anyone in his position would have done. The man was emotional and he couldn’t contain the stream of tears that were running down his face. He never expected that one move could change his life forever. And it all started because he stumbled across that simple piece of paper on the street.
Considering that Elmer Alvarez was homeless, he figured that things couldn’t get much worse. Just like many others, he never thought that he’d be living on the streets, but he had finally reached rock bottom. Every day was a battle between Elmer and his demons. He had finally gotten clean, and he figured that his life was going to gradually fall back into place, but his previous life choices were always there to taunt him.
And to make things even worse, Elmer was in Connecticut and it was about to be winter. Elmer released a hopeless sigh, and as his breath turned into steam, he made his way to the place that he seemed to have the most luck. Strangers were helping him get through his day-to-day needs, but he never knew what each day would bring him.
Elmer would later realize that the events that happened that day would change his life forever, even though he didn’t know it yet. He chugged along through the frigid morning, but he felt like he looked invisible to everyone – – as if he was just a ghost walking through the streets of Connecticut. “Can you spare any change?” he asked the people walking past him. Every now and then he would luck out and someone would reach into their pocket for a few coins to give him.
Elmer decided that he needed to keep moving, so he began to take the long walk to another block. People quickly walked by Elmer, their minds on what to get for lunch, and their cold hands shoved into their pockets. Elmer wished that he had the chance to worry about what to pick out for lunch, but unfortunately, he was in survival mode. He was wondering where he was going to get his next meal…if it was going to come at all. That was when he saw something lying on the ground.
It looked like the piece of paper had been dropped in a hurry and forgotten on the sidewalk. A gust of wind grabbed the piece of paper, causing it to dance and sway along the pavement. Elmer didn’t understand why he did it, but he somehow figured out that the piece of paper was supposed to be in his life. He walked up to the paper and bent down to grab it. But Elmer almost blacked out when he saw what was written in black ink.
Elmer looked at the paper again and quickly realized that his eyes weren’t playing games with him. Someone had dropped this piece of paper, which could turn Elmer’s life around in the blink of an eye. The piece of paper was actually a signed check, but there was nothing where the beneficiaries name should have gone. What was even more shocking was the amount of money that the check was for.
Elmer’s mind began to race as he looked at the numbers on the check over and over again. The check was for $10,000 and it could be his. He would just need to cash it and he could get on his feet and find a place to live. He looked around to see if anyone was watching him, but there was no one around. The person who had dropped the check was long gone by now, too. Was the universe giving him a sign? Could he take the check? And if he could, should he take it?
Only a few blocks down the road from where Elmer was debating with himself, Roberta Hoskie sat in her office. Roberta was the CEO and President of the Outreach Realty Services, as well as, the Outreach School of Real Estate, and she was busy making appointments and planning out her day. Making it in real estate wasn’t easy, and Roberta knew this first hand.
It’s truly hard to believe that this self-made woman had been homeless herself when she was only 17 years old. She was a single mother and had no one to turn to, but her life changed for the best when she applied for an internship at Yale University. She may have clawed her way out of the grips of poverty, but she has never forgotten where she started.
In the meantime, Elmer turned the check over in his hands. On the back of the check was a phone number. Roberta’s phone number was on the back, and even though Elmer didn’t realize it yet, Roberta didn’t even know that it was missing. The world’s of these two strangers were about to collide and Elmer’s life was about to flip upside down. Even though it pained him, Elmer knew what the right thing to do was.
Elmer took a deep breath when he looked at the check. Was he really going to do it? $10,000 sure was a large amount of money. Was he doing the right thing? With a clear mind, he began to journey down the road that would change his life. A friend of his had a cell phone, and he needed to use it immediately.
Roberta picked up the phone after the first ring. The man on the other line told her that she had lost her check. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She immediately searched her bag to realize that the check was definitely missing. She became angry with herself for being so careless. Pulling herself together, she asked the man on the phone where they could meet so she could get her check back.
Elmer met up with Roberta on a street corner with his friend and handed her the check. She couldn’t believe that Elmer was being so honest, especially considering how large of a check it was. Roberta recorded the entire interaction and uploaded it to her Facebook page. She spoke to the men for a little while, until she realized that something alarming was going on.
Elmer was too proud of a man to tell Roberta that he was homeless, but his friend had no problem doing it for him. A look of disbelief crossed her face when she heard the news, which made Elmer’s honesty even more meaningful. Elmer would soon find out that Roberta would go to great lengths to repay him for his good deed.
Roberta spent a little time thinking about what she could do to show Elmer that she was grateful. Finally, she realized what she could do. It couldn’t just be a coincidence that Elmer and Roberta were brought into each other’s lives. There was a reason why the universe brought them together. She asked Elmer to wait right where he was and he quickly ran back to her office to get her checkbook.
She wrote a check for Elmer and explained to him that she was once in the same position, but she became successful because of her strength and willpower. Elmer couldn’t believe that she had been through the same type of poverty as him. He was grateful for the check, but when he tried to get it cashed Roberta realized that a cash reward wouldn’t be enough. Then, she understood that he had a bigger problem that she could help with.
Even though the check was made out to him, and he had an ID to match, the bank teller refused to cash the check. Because they believed the check might have been fraudulent, they wanted to call Roberta to make sure that she had actually given the homeless man money. Two weeks later, Roberta contacted Elmer again, but this time she had a better solution to his problems.
The post that Roberta shared on Facebook about Elmer returning her check had received a lot of attention. Everyone was in shock at how honest Elmer had been, and even though he didn’t know it, he had gathered quite the following. When he walked into Roberta’s office for the second time, he was greeted by a group of people that were all cheering and applauding for him. He would soon find out that he was going to be surprised more than once that day.
Elmer was given a certificate of thanks from the organization that helped combat poverty called Ms. Millionaire Mindset. That was when Roberta sat down with Elmer to explain her big plans to help him. She explained to Elmer that she was going to “teach him how to fish”, and then she continued by telling him how she was going to accomplish that.
Roberta had taken the liberty of enrolling Elmer into her successful school of real estate, and his classes would be absolutely free! She was going to teach Elmer how to pull himself out of poverty, just like she had done for herself before. Then, Elmer was presented with an even bigger surprise from Roberta.
Roberta explained to Elmer that she had arranged for him to live in an apartment for the next six months, and she had paid for the whole thing herself! Elmer was overcome with emotion when he understood what was happening. He leaned in to hug Roberta, which said all of the things he couldn’t form the words to say. Roberta was changing his life, but how could he possibly ever repay her?
But there were still some surprises left for Elmer. Roberta informed Elmer that he had a standing interview waiting for him at her friend’s real estate company, and once he was ready, he could pursue a career in the field. “I’m ready now!” he tearfully cried out. It only took two weeks for Roberta to see the results of her good deeds because Elmer had some incredible news for her.
Elmer and Roberta eagerly awaited the results of the real estate exam that he had taken. The results would determine whether or not Elmer would be a qualified real estate agent. Elmer had gone to all of his classes and he had studied hard, but the results were finally ready. Roberta took a deep breath and turned the results over so they could read the results at the same time.
Roberta grinned when she saw the results. Elmer had passed! The pair were overcome with emotion at the results and now Elmer was ready to go after his dreams. And it all goes back to a blank check, and an honest man’s decision to do the right thing. Discovering that check on the sidewalk started a ripple effect of change that would make Elmer’s life better. Elmer can happily say that he is now a proud member of the National Association of Realtors!