Marcus was a homeless man that slept on Minneapolis’ Lake Street, nearby Cesia Abigail’s Cafe. One day, he walked into the cafe, expecting to be turned away since it happened quite often, but the unexpected happened instead. Marcus was offered a second chance at life. Cesia wanted to do something other than just giving him money, so she asked him why it was that he didn’t have a job. After hearing his response, Cesia decided to give him a gift that would keep on giving. Keep reading to find out what Cesia did to change this man’s life.
25-year-old Cesia runs a small Salvadorian restaurant called Abi’s Cafe. Even though her customers love the food, they love the way Cesia is with people even more. No matter if you’ve been there once, or a hundred times, Cesia treats you like family. Despite her struggles to make ends meet, Cesia always has a bright smile on her face. Each day leaves Cesia feeling exhausted and overworked. Because of that reason, she has no tolerance for freeloaders. So, when Marcus walked into the cafe she said, “You know nothing is given to me for free, right?” But help doesn’t need to come in the form of handouts.
When Cesia asked why Marcus didn’t have a job, she received a pretty typical answer. Marcus replied, “Well, I have a lot of felonies and no one wants to hire me for that. So, now I had to turn myself to the streets and get money the only way I know — stealing and asking for money.” When she heard his reasoning, Cesia realized she could definitely use some help around the cafe. Instead of turning Marcus away, she gave him an answer. “You want a job? Then I have one for you,” Cesia said.
Cesia offered Marcus a paid position, valid for the last two hours of the day, washing dishes. Marcus instantly agreed, replying, “I will do anything for food.” Marcus was overwhelmed with happiness. “His eyes opened wide and his smile made my day!!!!” Cesia later wrote on Facebook. Marcus washed his hands and immediately got to work. While Marcus was busy with the dishes, Cesia made him a sandwich. Cesia was surprised when he cut the sandwich in half, wrapped it up one half in tin foil, then booked it out of the cafe.
Cesia watched Marcus walk around the corner and offer the other half of his sandwich to a woman sitting on the street. “I said, ‘Marcus do you know the lady over there?’ and he said ‘No, but I know that she is hungry so I gave her my food.’ That really touched me,” Cesia told CBS News. Marcus was showing that he was a truly amazing person who quickly became a pillar of light for Cesia. “A lot of people are saying I’ve been a blessing for him, but, at that point, I was the one who needed a blessing,” Cesia said.
Since the restaurant wasn’t doing too well financially, Cesia couldn’t afford to hire Marcus, even though she wanted to help. So, at the end of the day, they said their goodbyes. But, much to her surprise, Marcus continued to show up every day for the next two weeks ready to work his two-hour shift. “Once I pay him guess what he does?” Cesia asked on Facebook.
“He buys food from my restaurant (HE DECIDES TO PAY).” No need to worry, Cesia gave Marcus an employee discount. Why would Marcus spend his hard earned money at the restaurant he worked at? “Because it makes him feel good!” says Cesia. At this point, Cesia is even thinking about giving him a full-time position. “Some restaurants wouldn’t even let you use their restrooms,” she said in an interview with CBS News. “I don’t judge someone on how they look — go use it. I do not treat [homeless people] any different.”
“If restaurants and businesses don’t do anything to help the less fortunate, then they become part of the problem,” Abigail explained. Cesia began sharing her experience with Marcus on her restaurant’s Facebook page. Her kindness has spread all over the internet. Today, the post has been commented on over 8,000 times and has been shared over 200 thousand times. “We need more people like this. We are all human; we make mistakes,” wrote one commenter.
“All we need sometimes is a helping hand,” said another. Since the young age of 16, Marcus has been just getting by and living on the streets. Life on the streets is a hard life to live, and even though Marcus has been blessed, he still has a long road to recovery. But Cesia has vowed to be there every step of the way. “I want to help [him], but [he] needs to want to help [himself.] It’s going to be hard for him to let go of whatever addiction he has,” she said.
“People need to have someone believe in them,” Cesia said. Marcus and Cesia have come to the agreement to store 10% of every paycheck in a savings account. That way Marcus can learn to save money. “Just like Marcus, I had my help. I had plenty of people to help make it to where I am today. They believed I could do it,” explained Cesia.
“God gave me this blessing so why can’t I bless others?” Cesia wrote on Facebook. “Do something nice for someone today and don’t judge them just because they out there asking for money for we don’t know their situation… some deserve another shot.” She continued by saying, “This is what should break the internet.” “We want change? Well, start by making one.” Nothing could be truer. Up next, another story featuring a homeless person in Boston, that is sure to leave you speechless.
What do you think you would do if you found a backpack with $40,000 in it? The answer to that was simple for a homeless man in Boston, named Glen James. James is a resident of a local homeless shelter in Boston. On September 4, a sunny Saturday, James sat among the shopping carts of a T.J. Maxx, attempting to stay shaded from the sun. As shoppers were going about their daily activities, James rested on his backpack, and proofread a letter.
As he continued to read, James noticed a young man sitting on an overturned carriage in front of the Best Buy. Sitting at his feet, was a black backpack. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so James went back to his letter. The next time James looked up, the man was gone. But the black bag still remained!
After some time passed, James went to see what was in the bag that was left behind. What he found was shocking! Inside the bag was $2,400 in cash and almost $40,000 in travelers checks! There was also a passport and some personal papers. For a homeless person that survived on food stamps and spare change, the amount of money in that bag could have given James a new life. James wasn’t that type of person though. In fact, the thought of keeping it never even crossed his mind!
“Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny of the money found,” he said Monday in a handwritten statement. “God has always very well looked after me.” James flagged down police officers that were patrolling the area in front of the T.J. Maxx. He reported to them that he had found a black backpack that had “a large sum of money and a passport,” a police statement said.
About an hour after James reported the lost bag, the police received a call that someone had lost his backpack at the Best Buy. Later that night, the backpack, with every single penny, was returned to the owner – who was a student visiting Boston from China. James, a homeless man that relies on the kindness of others for survival, returned a small fortune without a second thought.
James found himself in front of a room of reporters, but instead of taking the glory, he used his time to thank other people. He thanked the people at the homeless shelter that looked out for him. He thanked the strangers that were kind enough to give him money on the street. He even thanked one of the city’s mayoral candidates for giving him $7 one day! “It’s just nice to have some money in one’s pockets so that as a homeless man I don’t feel absolutely broke all the time,” he said in a written statement.
Since James did the right thing, he received a citation at Boston police headquarters. Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis praised his “extraordinary show of character and honesty.” “It really is a remarkable tribute to him,” Davis said. James has a bit of a speech impediment that makes him a little self-conscious, so he didn’t say too much at the ceremony. When he was asked how he felt about returning the money, he didn’t pause in his response.
While letting out a laugh, James would respond, “Very, very good.” In the statement, James explained how he found the money and spoke a little bit about himself. He worked as a file clerk at the courthouse for 13 years before being fired. The courts could not immediately confirm his employment. James has an inner-ear disorder that causes long spells of vertigo, so he wasn’t able to get another job.
Even though James does have siblings and other family he could live with, he doesn’t want to burden them. “The shelter is the perfect living situation with someone who has Meniere’s disease,” he wrote. “There are many people in the shelter to attend to me.” James hasn’t met the man who the belonged to, but he was very happy to be able to return it to him.
James calls the food stamps he receives “a blessing.” He also panhandles for money to do his laundry, transportation, and “odds and ends”. Just having a little bit of money can make all the difference for James. “It’s just nice to have some money in one’s pockets so that as a homeless man I don’t feel absolutely broke all the time.” James thanked all of the people that have ever given money to him when they saw him.
Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old marketing accounts manager from Midlothian, Va., was incredibly touched by James’ amazing story. He decided to launch a Gofundme on James’ behalf. Whittington looked at the situation as a “great opportunity to honor someone who has shown that there are still honorable people out there.”After only four hours, the campaign raised $3,152! After only one week, over $160,000 had been donated in James’ name!
“Let’s all chip in and help this man change his life,” wrote Whittington on the campaign page. The page also got housing offers for James! One of those offers was from Cynthia Lasprogata, who offered a one-bedroom apartment in Greene, New York, “until he is back on his feet financially.” “I never ever in my wildest dreams imagined this,” Whittington said.
In hopes of keeping money flowing to James over the years to come, Whittington will be linking the Gofundme directly to James’ bank account. When police received the backpack from James, they contacted mall security. Later on, the mall security was also contacted by Best Buy about someone losing a backpack that had quite a bit of money in it.
When he was walking out of the ceremony at police headquarters, James took deliberate steps, with his eyes directed at the floor. The employees then all stood up, and began applauding him! James’ eyes widened, and he nodded his thanks. When he got outside, James was asked if there was anything he wanted, anything at all. As he was getting into the police cruiser to go to the shelter, he replied, “No war.”