Not too long ago, Kenneth Smith from Forth Worth, Texas, was homeless. He was sleeping in a chair outside an Outback Steakhouse when a leaving customer stopped to ask him a simple question: “Are you alright?”
Smith answered honestly.
“She asked me was I alright, so I told her, ‘No, I’m not OK at this time,” he told WFAA-TV. But instead of that being the end of their interaction, the woman handed him a gift card to the restaurant for $100.
“I actually chilled after I got through eating because I was big and full,” Smith said. But it was only the beginning.
When he ate at the restaurant, managing partner Laura Hodges spoke to him and made him another very generous offer.
“I said, ‘Hey, I don’t ever want you to want for food or go hungry,'” she recalled telling him. “I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here’s my business card. Bring it anytime.”
For a few months, Smith would show up for that promised food. Eventually, he got something more: a job cleaning and bussing tables.
With a new source of income, he was interested in getting off the street and into affordable accommodations. To help with the search, Hodges posted in the Fort Worth Foodies Facebook group to ask for some suggestions.
“I run a restaurant here on Bryant Irvin/Overton Ridge and I’ve recently employed a homeless gentleman,” she posted. “He is wonderful and works very hard. He tries to pay for a motel room daily. Does anyone know of a motel close by that rents for less than $60 per night. He is just trying to get a fresh start.”
But she got far more than pointers. People began offering all sorts of assistance, including gently used business clothes, grocery deliveries, six weeks at the local extended-stay hotel and outright cash.
“I had absolutely no idea that people were going to latch onto that,” Hodges explained. “And all they wanted to do was throw assistance out there and resources in any way that they possibly could.”
And none of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for the kindhearted stranger who asked Smith how he was doing.
“We wish we could find her and know who she was because she blessed both of our lives,” Hodges said. “This has been a great thing for both of us. I’m blown away by the generosity of people. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Thanks to the blessings from total strangers, Smith is in a very different place than where he started — and he plans on making the best of it.
“I think it’s so much of a good blessing, and it’s wonderful just to have people you know these days that’ll do things for you,” he said. “This is a whole ’nother new beginning that God blessed me with, so I’m trying to get on this right good track that he wants me to stay on.”
“God is good, and if he can do it for me, he can do it for anybody else.”
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