(image credits: Facebook/Cesia Abigail, CBS NEWS)
When Marcus, a homeless man who sleeps on Minneapolis’ Lake Street, walked into Cesia Abigail’s cafe, he probably expected to be turned away immediately. He was used to that. But what he didn’t expect was to get a second chance at life. Deciding to open more than just her wallet, Cesia would give Marcus a gift that keeps on giving. She wrote on Facebook, “I looked at him and asked, ‘Why don’t you have a job?’”
Meet Cesia Abigail
Cesia, 25, runs a small Salvadorian restaurant called Abi’s Cafe. But what makes her a local favorite isn’t her Tamal de Pollo, it’s her way with people. Everyone who steps into her small establishment is treated like family. She may be all smiles, but she struggles just to break even on Abi’s Cafe. At the end of every day, she said she is exhausted, overworked and underpaid. As a result, has zero patience for freeloaders. So when Marcus came in that fateful day asking for change, she said “You know nothing is given to me for free, right?” Continue reading to see her incredible offer
“Why don’t you have a job?” Cesia inquired.
“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.”
Marcus replied, avoiding eye contact. Despite this alarming revelation, Cesia definitely could use the helping hands. Instead of telling him off, she did the unthinkable.
“You want a job? Then I have one for you,” Abigail said. Continue reading to see the job
What’s the Job?
“His eyes opened wide and his smile made my day!!!!” Cesia later wrote on Facebook. What she offered was a paid position, valid just for the remaining 2 hours of the day, washing dishes.
“I will do anything for food.” Marcus instantly agreed, smiling ear-to-ear. He promptly washed his hands and got to work immediately. In the meantime, Cesia fixed him a sandwich. Surprisingly, this poor starving guy cut it in half, wrapped up the other half in tin foil and then darted right out the door…
A Blessing in Disguise
Around the corner, Marcus could be seen offering the other half to a homeless woman 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 later reported to CBS News. Marcus was really proving himself to be an exceptional man and a ray of light in Cesia’s life.
“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.
Employee of the Month
With the restaurant faltering, Cesia simply couldn’t afford Marcus. So at the end of the day, the two said their goodbyes. So you could imagine her surprise when he showed up at the exact same time the next day, ready to work his 2-hour shift. Amazingly, for 2 weeks now, he has shown up every single day at the same time. “Once I pay him guess what he does?” Cesia asks on Facebook.
A Brand New Man
“He buys food from my restaurant (HE DECIDES TO PAY).” But not to worry – Cesia gives him an employee discount of course. But why spend it on the restaurant? “Because it makes him feel good!” She says. Cesia is even considering giving Marcus a full-time contract! “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 any different.”
“If restaurants and businesses don’t do anything to help the less fortunate, then they become part of the problem,” Abigail explained.
Recently Cesia has shared her experience on her restaurant’s Facebook page.
Like wildfire, her post spread all over the internet. To date, the post has received more than 1,500 comments and has been shared over 30,000 times.
“We need more people like this. We are all human; we make mistakes,” wrote one commenter.
A Long Way to Go
“All we need sometimes is a helping hand,” said another.
Marcus has been scraping by living a homeless life since he was 16 years old. Life on the streets has clearly been a tough road, and while this has been a real blessing for him, his road to recovery has only just begun.
But Cesia is there for him every step of the way. “I want to help , but needs to want to help 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.
For the time being, both Cesia and Marcus have agreed to put 10% of every paycheck into a savings account. This way Marcus will learn how to save money. Later Abigail explained, “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.”
Spread the Love!
“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,” Cesia writes on Facebook.
“God gave me this blessing so why can’t I bless others?”
“This is what should break the internet,” she continued. “We want change? Well, start by making one.”
We couldn’t agree more. Up next another story featuring a Boston homeless that will leave you speechless.
If you came across a backpack stuffed with $40,000, what would you do with it? For Glen James, a homeless man in Boston, the answer was simple.
James is a resident of a Boston-area homeless shelter.
On Saturday, Sept. 4, under the canopy at the T.J. Maxx store in the nearby town of Dorchester, James sat among the shopping carts, shaded from the late-summer sun. As shoppers bustled through the South Bay Mall, James proofread a letter, resting on the bag he brings with him when he panhandles.
As he read, James noticed a young man nearby, sitting on an overturned carriage in front of a Best Buy store. He had a bag, too, a black backpack at his feet. Nothing out of the ordinary here, so James went back to his letter.
When James looked up again, the man was gone. But his bag was still there…
After a time, James went over to see what had been left behind. Inside, he found $2,400 in cash and nearly $40,000 in travelers checks, along with a passport and personal papers.
For a homeless man who subsists on food stamps and spare change, it was a staggering sum, maybe even a chance at a new life.
But James, a slight, bespectacled man in his mid-50s who says he has been homeless for five years, said the thought of keeping the money never 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.”
Police say James flagged down officers patrolling the area in front of a TJ Maxx Store that same Saturday night. He told them he found a black backpack that contained “a large sum of money and a passport,” a police statement said.
About an hour later, they got a call about a male customer at a Best Buy store who said he lost his backpack. That night, the backpack–and all the money stuffed inside–was returned to the owner, a student visiting Boston from China.
James, a man who lives in a homeless shelter and relies on charity for change to wash his clothes, had returned a small fortune without a second thought.
When Glen James found himself in front of a room full of reporters earlier this week, he used his time in the spotlight to thank others.
He thanked the people who look after him at a homeless shelter.
He thanked “every pedestrian stranger” who has given him spare change when he has panhandled on Boston sidewalks. He even thanked one of the city’s mayoral candidates who dropped $7 into his cup.
“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.
For his actions, James received a citation Monday at Boston police headquarters, where Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis praised his “extraordinary show of character and honesty.”
“It really is a remarkable tribute to him,” Davis said.
James, who has a speech impediment, said little at the ceremony, saying he was self-conscious about his stutter. As cameras flashed, he smiled nervously and appeared somewhat overwhelmed. But when asked how he felt about returning so much money, he did not pause.
“Very, very good,” he said, letting loose a hearty laugh.
In his statement, James wrote about how he found the money and a bit about himself.
He had worked at a courthouse for 13 years as a file clerk, he said, before being fired. On Monday, the courts could not immediately confirm his employment. James could have gotten another job, he said, but he suffers from an inner-ear disorder that causes prolonged vertigo spells.
“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 said he has siblings and other relatives he could live with, but does not want to burden them.
He said he had not met the man whose bag he found, but said he was “very glad to make sure” it was returned to him safely.
James said he receives the “blessing” of food stamps and panhandles for money for laundry, transportation, and “odds and ends.” Just having a little money, he said, can make all the difference.
“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 the people who have given him spare change, including mayoral candidate Charles Yancey, who had dropped a total of $7 into his cup.
James’s story compelled Ethan Whittington, a 27-year-old marketing accounts manager from Midlothian, Va., who has never been to Boston, to launch a fund for James at www.gofundme.com.
The story struck Whittington, who saw a “great opportunity to honor someone who has shown that there are still honorable people out there.” Within the first four hours, Whittington’s campaign raised $3,152, which he plans to deliver to James. By week’s end, more than $100,000 had been donated.
“Let’s all chip in and help this man change his life,” Whittington wrote on the crowdfunding site.
The pitch also sparked housing offers, including one from Cynthia Lasprogata who said James could come stay at 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.
Whittington said he plans to personally visit James within the next two weeks and will either cut him a check or transfer the money into James’ bank account. He’s hoping to link the online campaign with James’ account so money can keep flowing in the years to come.
After receiving the backpack from James, police notified mall security. They were later contacted by an employee at Best Buy, who said a customer had told them he had lost his backpack containing a large sum of money.