Homeless man finds $10K, tries to return it and it backfires

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A lucky break

For a long time, Elmer Alvarez never imagined that he’d get his lucky break. Being out on the streets, he had no idea if his life would ever get better. He was a victim to the elements and slowly finding it harder to get by. With the prospect of a cold winter ahead, Alvarez didn’t know if he’d see life through to the new year. However, after he discovered a check for $10,000, his whole life changed forever. Who said that money can’t buy you happiness?

Life-changing money

There was nothing particularly special about the day that Alvarez happened upon the money. He was simply following his usual routine on the street hoping that someone would take a chance on him when it caught his eye. For a person in Alvarez’s position, seeing a check worth $10,000 was almost too hard to believe. That amount of money would do incredible things for his life, not least get him somewhere safe and warm to sleep. Could he really take money that didn’t belong to him though?

Doing the right thing

He might have been in desperate need of the cash, but Alvarez wasn’t about to put his own desires ahead of his human decency. In his eyes, it would be stealing, and he cared more about doing the right thing than scoring himself a hot meal. It wouldn’t be easy to give away so much money after finding it, but failing to do so would stop him from sleeping at night. So, with a heavy heart, he set about looking for the rightful owner of the check.

Finding the owner

Thankfully, it was much easier to find the owner of a $10,000 check, as opposed to if the money had been in bills. The check contained information about the woman who’d lost it, including where she worked, and a quick Google search gave Alvarez the answers he needed. The money belonged to one Roberta Hoskie, a real estate agent living in Connecticut. Returning the check to her wouldn’t be too difficult a task, though he never dreamt that she’d respond to his act of kindness the way she did.

Completely oblivious

The whole time that Alvarez was looking for her, Hoskie had no idea that she’d even lost the check. With so much on her mind, and her hands full at the time she dropped it, it slipped out of her possession unnoticed. It was lucky for the real estate agent that Alvarez found the money shortly after and not someone else. When faced with $10,000, a lot of people would be tempted to take the cash for themselves without even considering returning it. Finder’s keepers and all that.

Returning the money

Fortunately for Hoskie, by the time she realized the money was gone, she didn’t have to worry. That’s because it was only through Alvarez contacting her that she discovered she’d lost it in the first place. She couldn’t believe how foolish she’d been in dropping the check, but she was incredibly grateful to Alvarez for wanting to return it. The duo arranged to meet up on a street corner nearby so that Hoskie could get her money back, and that was when she made a startling discovery that changed everything.

Down on his luck

Hoskie had expected the person returning her money to merely be an everyday man wanting to do some good in the world. She’d never imagined that he’d be homeless and in desperate need of food and shelter. It was clear to see just how big of an impact her money would have had on his life, yet he’d still done the right thing and given her back the check. Although Alvarez requested nothing as payment for his kindness, Hoskie knew she couldn’t just let this man leave her empty-handed.

A place to live

The real estate agent knew she had to show her gratitude to Alvarez, but how? For a man who had virtually nothing to his name, what could she give him that would be most beneficial? That’s when it occurred to her that this man was out on the streets with no shelter to keep him warm. If there was anything he needed above all else, it was somewhere safe that he could call home. So, she decided to help set the man up in accommodation, among other things.

Securing an interview

Having somewhere to live was all well and good, but without an income to pay the bills, he wouldn’t be staying there for long. So, in addition to securing him accommodation, Hoskie also lined Alvarez up for an interview with a business partner. If the man could land himself a decent job, then he’d never have to worry about being out on the streets again. There was no assurance that he’d succeed in the interview, but giving him the chance to try for it was better than nothing.

Returning to school

Of course, when it came to Hoskie’s line of work, Alvarez wasn’t the most qualified for the job. There was an easy way to change that, though, thanks to the agent’s generosity. She enrolled the man in her real estate school free of charge, with the promise to cover all of his fees. This would allow him to not only become a competent real estate agent, but also help improve his English language skills, changing his life for the better. Things were suddenly looking up for this homeless man.

Facing her own troubles

There’s a reason that Hoskie was so enamored by Alvarez’s kindness. The real estate agent had once been on the streets herself, so she knew the kind of struggles the man was facing on a daily basis. However, Hoskie had had the added difficulty of being a single mother to contend with. She’d dropped out of high school as a teenage mother and only had a few hundred dollars to her name every month. For a long time, it didn’t look like things would get better, but they did.

A vulnerable position

Being out on the streets is a terrifying prospect, no matter what age you are. However, as a teenager struggling to look after herself, Hoskie was in an incredibly vulnerable position. She should have still been in school focusing on her education, but instead, she was learning how to keep herself alive while facing the elements. It was her son she was most concerned for, though. She wanted to give him a good life, but she didn’t have the means to protect him from the dangers all around her.

Back on her feet

Fortunately, when she was 20, the real estate agent begun an internship with Yale University which led down a more prosperous path than the one she was on. The experience allowed her to become involved in a first-time buyer’s program and finally have somewhere safe for her to raise her son. In the years that followed, she built herself up in the real estate business and now works in an office opposite the very first house she bought. Her life is completely different from what it once was.

The kindness of strangers

Hoskie owes her success to the kindness of a stranger who gave her a chance when others wouldn’t. She knows how much of an impact her generosity can have on Alvarez’s future because she’s seen it first-hand. If someone else’s goodwill can turn her from being a single, homeless mother into a successful real estate agent, then there’s no reason a similar thing couldn’t happen to Alvarez. However, if she was going to put her neck on the line for this man, then he had to abide by one condition.

A special condition

The real estate agent was willing to give Alvarez accommodation and training on the basis that sometime in the future, he shows the same generosity to another person struggling on the street. It was Hoskie’s desire to create a never ending cycle of kindness that would give those in need an opportunity to make a life for themselves. Given how selflessly Alvarez had acted in the short time she’d known him, the real estate agent was certain that the man would have no trouble offering his help when the time came.

Sharing the good news

It took a few days to arrange everything that Hoskie had planned for Alvarez, but the wait was worth it. The real estate agent was incredibly excited to share the good news with the man, and when the day finally came, she couldn’t help but smile. As she relayed to Alvarez everything that his kindness had earned him, she was relieved to see how much it meant to him. For someone in Alvarez’s position, what he was being offered was no laughing matter, and he accepted everything with great sincerity.

Overwhelming emotion

Naturally, the man was emotional upon hearing what Hoskie was giving him. Considering everything he’d been through on the streets, the thought that he’d finally have somewhere safe to live and an opportunity to work was overwhelming. Despite how hard he’d tried, he hadn’t been able to catch a break, but finally, someone had taken a chance on him. He couldn’t hold back the tears as he realized just how significantly his life was going to change, but there was one thing in particular that really brought on the waterworks.

Warm this winter

It was when Hoskie told Alvarez that he didn’t “have to worry about being in the cold” that everything really hit him. With winter fast approaching, the thought of spending night after night out on the streets was terrifying. Temperatures in Connecticut can average as low as 16 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months, and the last thing Alvarez wanted was to be sleeping rough when it got that cold. Thankfully, because of Hoskie’s generosity, he no longer had to worry about freezing to death anymore.

No expectations

Although he was incredibly grateful for everything that the real estate agent had given him, he never had any expectations of her. In his mind, he’d return the check to her and go back to looking for a way to get himself off the street. He didn’t give her the money with the hope she’d feel she owed him, but instead, he did it out of the kindness of his heart. Just because he was down on his luck, it didn’t mean he couldn’t still do the right thing.

Giving back

Alvarez isn’t the first person to who Hoskie has lent a helping hand, nor will he be the last. A lot of the real estate agent’s time is spent doing philanthropic work to help anyone in need. While her time out on the streets might have been an unpleasant ordeal, it showed her how important it is to offer what you can to those less fortunate. Now that Hoskie has been lucky enough to build a great career for herself, she wants to do all she can to give back.

A positive change

Needless to say, Hoskie’s generosity has had an enormous impact on Alvarez’s life in the year since she took a chance on him. No longer having to worry about making it through the night, Alvarez has flourished in his new life. He continues to educate himself in the hopes of building a stronger future for himself, and he’s never forgotten that it’s Hoskie who he has to thank for everything. He also fully realizes the importance of continuing to pay it forward.

A new mission in life

Speaking to a news team, Alvarez described what his life’s new focus had become, saying it was “helping people, trying to help others.” As someone who has lived on the streets for so long, he was acutely aware of how badly people who were still out there needed a break – just someone to not look through them, but rather truly see them – and the potential inside them. Hoskie saw it in him, and it transformed his life.

Reaching out

However, Alvarez wasn’t just all talk. He was truly going to dedicate his life to helping other homeless people follow in his footsteps, so that they may change their lives as he did. To achieve that, he went out and spoke to the people living on the streets. “When I see them down and depressed, I talk to them,” he said, adding he let them know he used to be exactly in their situation – and how he was able to escape it.

Learning the tricks of the trade

Meanwhile, Elmer has been learning the ropes at Hoskie’s real estate school, and getting his feet a bit wet in this new profession. In fact, he’s been brimming with new ideas, which he pitched to his guardian angel – not just about real estate in general, but also specifically about how she can use her expertise to help the homeless. “I’ve got faith in God that she’s going to take that project to another step,” he said.

Extending a hand

Hoskie’s generosity didn’t just stop with giving Elmer free classes at her school, however. She realized all the studying in the world may not do him much good if when school was out, he went right back to living on the streets. To make sure he made the most of the opportunity she was giving him, she decided to pay for six months’ rent, so he could get settled in and study in peace without having to worry about anything.

Some final thoughts

Since he isn’t done with his schooling quite yet, however, Hoskie did something even more unbelievable. Since Elmer seemed to need just one more final push, she agreed to pay for an additional, seventh month of rent. Make no mistake, though – he wasn’t a freeloader, and intended fully to pay his own way as soon as he could start working. For Alvarez, you see, it was quite simple, and could be summed up in one sentence: “Do the right things and the right things come to you.”

An unlikely savior

Just recently, someone else made headlines for helping a homeless person in need – someone you might not necessarily expect to hear about in such a context. For the past few years, rapper Kanye West has made more headlines for his marriage to Kim Kardashian than he has for his music career. The couple have three children – North, Saint, and Chicago, born earlier this year. When he met a young homeless man on the streets of New York, however, he did something that doesn’t quite gel with his public persona.

Meet Nino

Posting a video on Twitter, West allowed a young man named Nino Blu to introduce himself to his 28.5 million followers. The video – which has been liked 53,000 times and retweeted more than 9,100 times showed Blu standing next to the typically stern West as he recounted his story. It turned out Blu – whose real name is Jorge Flores – had recently become homeless, and was sleeping outside a music studio in the Big Apple. Then he happened to meet one of the world’s most recognizable figures.

Sharing his story

Nino said he celebrated his birthday just days before meeting West, but it wasn’t a particularly happy occasion as he had become homeless because the man he was living with was “a little crazy.” Kanye, for his part, listened to an impromptu performance by the young rapper right there on the street and was so impressed that he offered to take him into his studio. “He said I have good energy and he’s gonna show me some beats,” Nino said, over the moon with joy.

Credit where it’s due

The young man simply couldn’t believe his good fortune. “I feel extremely blessed. I feel very happy,” he said in the video, adding he felt God was looking out for him. The entire thing felt like a miracle to him, but he wanted everyone watching to learn one very important lesson. Echoing Elmer’s words, Nino said that if you have a dream, or another goal you’re trying to achieve, never give up on it, because you never know what might happen. “The universe works in very mysterious ways,” he concluded.

Kanye chimes in

West’s public persona is an enigmatic one. He has often gotten into hot water for his statements and actions. Once, for instance, his clothing line offered a plain white T-shirt for $120, something for which he was soundly criticized – but it sold out anyway! In the aforementioned video, however, West was not the focus – Nino was. In fact, save for a few glimpses, he hardly appeared in it at all. He only spoke two words throughout the entire thing – “All love” – preferring perhaps to let his actions speak for him.

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