A wealthy woman insists on taking a homeless man into one of the city's finest restaurants for dinner. Everyone around look at her like she was crazy but she had an important reason for her kindness.
Freddy Hurtle sat in a doorway huddled against the cold. It was getting dark and people were walking past, hurrying to get home to their families, to sit down to a hot meal, and sleep in their warm beds.
To them, Freddy, who was sitting on the pavement with his feet wrapped in newspapers to keep warm, was invisible. But there was one woman who saw him and stopped to speak to him.
Luxurious restaurant | Source: Shutterstock
"Good evening," the soft-spoken, elegant woman said gently to Freddy, who turned away from her and huddled closer to the doorway. "Are you alright?"
"Go away," Freddy said, but the woman crouched down to speak to him instead of moving on.
"It's so cold... How about you and I have a hot meal together?" she asked.
"I don't want anything from you!" Freddy said bitterly, "Or from anyone! I'm not a beggar!"
One act of kindness can change a life.
Desolate-looking man on the street | Source: Unsplash
The woman smiled. "I know that. I was inviting you to dinner. I hate to eat alone, so please join me!"
Freddy was about to refuse when another voice intruded. "Ma'm, is everything alright?" the policemen asked.
The elegant woman smiled. "I'm quite alright, officer! I was just telling this gentleman that I hate to eat alone, and I was inviting him to have dinner with me."
"Hello, Freddy," the policeman said gently, "Why don't you have dinner with this lady? She seems very kind."
Homeless man | Source: Pixabay
"I don't want any charity," said Freddy angrily, "I'm not a beggar!"
"Of course not!" cried the woman, "You'd be doing me a favor..." She turned to the policeman and added, "Why don't you join us, officer?"
"I'd love to Ma'am!" cried the officer. He drew Freddy to his feet gently. "Come on Freddy, let's have dinner, then I'll drop you off at the East 30th Street shelter, OK?"
Grumbling, Freddy allowed the policeman and the woman to lead him to a nearby luxurious restaurant. The three quickly sat down and the woman gestured for a server, but it was the manager who approached them.
Older woman | Source: Unsplash
"Excuse me," he said coldly, "That table is reserved."
"Oh!" cried the woman, "I'm sorry! We'll move to another table!"
"They are all reserved," the manager said, "I'm afraid you'll have to find another restaurant."
The elegant woman looked around. It was early, and half the tables at the restaurant were empty. "I think not," she said firmly. "Please bring us the menu."
An empty restaurant | Source: Unsplash
"Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to leave, please." He nodded towards Freddy and said, "I'm afraid we cater to a select clientele..."
"I'm leaving!" cried Freddy getting to his feet, but the policeman held his arm and pressed him back into his chair gently. The officer was about to speak out when the woman smiled.
"Do you know who Jessica Verel is?" she asked the manager.
"Of course, Ma'am!" the manager said, "She's the restauranteur who owns this establishment and 10 more. She's a legend!"
A homeless child | Source: Pexels
"I'm Jessica Verel," the woman said, "and I decide what kind of clientele we serve. You're fired!"
That night, Freddy, Jessica, and the officer had a wonderful dinner together and she explained why she had wanted to buy him dinner.
Many years ago, when Jessica was just a child, her mother had died. Consumed by debt and grief, she and her father had become homeless, living on the streets, eating at soup kitchens.
One night a kindly man had taken them to dinner and had given her father a glimpse of his old life. "And it helped my father turn his life around, Freddy," Jessica said.
"I never forgot what a difference that one warm, lovely meal made. Now I want to offer you a job if you want one..."
What can we learn from this story?
1. Homelessness can happen to anyone. Many of the people who are living on the streets are unemployed. Losing a job, a home, or falling into depression can lead to homelessness.
2. One act of kindness can change a life. Jessica's father found the strength to overcome his situation after someone showed him he deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.
Share this story with your friends. It might inspire people to share their own stories or to help someone else.
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