There are people all over the country who have found themselves down on their luck. Over time, this bad luck can result in the individual losing their home. Once a person is living on the streets, it is difficult for them to change their lives. It isn’t easy to find a job when you are homeless. You have no place to shower, wash your clothes, and prepare for interviews. Soon, living on the streets becomes normal. It is a sad reality, but it is a problem just about everywhere.
Elmer Alvarez understands homelessness all too well. He understands the struggles that cause people to become homeless such as drug addiction, mental illness, and a criminal past. Elmer suffered from drug addiction for years before he decided to get help. He had been clean for three years but still remained on the streets. He understands all too well that when you are homeless, it is hard to change your situation. One day, all of this changed. When this homeless man finds $10,000, his choice has changed his life forever.
Elmer was walking down the streets of New Haven, Connecticut one day when he found a folded piece of paper on the street. He picked up it and couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that it was a check for $10,000. Elmer thought for a moment what $10,000 could do for him. These thoughts crossed his mind for seconds before he realized that it wasn’t his check and he couldn’t keep it. Elmer knew that he had to do the right thing.
Elmer knew that the check didn’t belong to him. He also knew that it was up to him to find the owner of the check and return it. Fortunately, the owner’s name and phone number were listed on the check. It belonged to a woman named Roberta Hoskie. Elmer had a friend who was also living on the streets who had a phone. He asked his friend to help him get in touch with Roberta to return the check.
Roberta was a successful woman. However, she wasn’t always successful. When she first had her daughter, they were on welfare, and she was a single mom. At one point, she found herself homeless. Fortunately, she met a kind person who was willing to help her. She took the help seriously, worked hard, and became a real estate broker. She managed to build a pretty good life for herself. When she got the call that someone had found her check, she couldn’t wait to meet this Good Samaritan.
It was Elmer’s friend who had called Roberta because Elmer didn’t speak English well. Roberta gave Elmer’s friend the address of her work so that Elmer could return the check. She expected a businessman in a pressed blue suit with plenty of degrees under his belt. Instead, Elmer showed up. As soon as he walked in, Roberta saw herself in him. She remembered back to the days when she was homeless and how she desperately needed help that she received. She decided to pay it forward for Elmer.
Roberta told Elmer that she was impressed that he did the right thing and returned the check. He explained that it wasn’t his and he knew it. Roberta told Elmer that she was going to help him get back on his feet. She started by setting him up in an apartment and paid the rent six months in advance. Getting him off the streets was the first part of her plan. She also set him up with English classes as well as courses in real estate school. She told Elmer that she wanted to give him a chance to make a good living for himself.
Elmer did very well in his classes. Soon, he was speaking English perfectly, and he had his real estate license. This was when Roberta came to him with an idea. She wanted the two of them to start a project together. It wouldn’t make them rich, but it would help others.
Together, the two started working on building a transitional house for homeless teenagers and young adults. Because Elmer and Roberta were both homeless at one point, they knew all about the services that the homeless needed, and they were going to provide these services.
A year after returning Roberta’s check, Elmer couldn’t believe how much his life had changed. He had a place of his own to lay his head at night. He also had a job to go to each day, and it was rewarding. He still cannot believe that doing the right thing by returning a check that didn’t belong to him had changed his life so much.
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