Poor Man Sitting with a Cardboard on the Street Turns Down Alms to Find a Job – Story of the Day
Amelia walked past a poor man holding a cardboard sign and tried to give him a $5 bill, but he refused. All he wanted was work, and she decided to do something extraordinary for him.
It was a bright, sunny day and Amelia looked forward to her trip to the grocery store. Unlike most people who used their cars for everything, Amelia would walk all the time mainly because the store was close to her house in Melbourne, Florida.
She put on her headphones, but she could still hear the buzzing of cars and smell the scent of asphalt and gasoline in the air. Regardless, the day was beautiful, and her glass was half-full.
Suddenly, she saw a person standing on the sidewalk near a street crossing holding a cardboard sign. Though some stores hired people to twirl signs around, attracting business, this man was sitting on the ground, so Amelia figured he was homeless and asking for money. Luckily, she had some bills in her wallet and decided to give him some.
But she stopped, turned back, and asked, "Can I take a picture of you with your sign? I have an idea."
As she got closer, she leaned and offered him a $5 bill, and to her complete shock, the man refused it. She took off her headphones as he started speaking and shaking his head.
"No, ma'am. I don't need money. What I really need is a job," the elderly man told her, his hand stopping her from handing over the bill.
Amelia frowned. She didn't understand why the man was begging on the street for money if he wanted a job. But she walked a few paces more to get a good look at his cardboard sign. It read: "Shoemaker looking for work! I can sow and repair any kind of footwear too!"
"Oh! You're a shoemaker. I would assume that many factories out there could offer you some jobs," she told the older man, finally noticing some of his tools around him. Her frown was still in place, and she was starting to sweat from being too long in the sun.
"No, miss. At my age, no one is keen to hire me anymore. It's been hard, so I'm trying to find some work this way. I'm too proud to beg for money, and I believe in an honest day's work above all. If you know someone who needs shoe repair, please let them know about me. I'm working on buying a phone to get clients, but it might take a while," the man continued.
Amelia nodded, thinking about a few pairs of shoes at home that could use a spruce up. Typically, she would donate and buy new ones, but if this man could repair them, she could keep using them. "What's your name, sir?"
"I'm Martin, young lady. It's nice to meet you," he said and smiled at her.
"Ok, sir. I have to go grocery shopping now, but I'll return with a few pairs of shoes that need some fixing," Amelia assured him with a smile and started to walk away. But she stopped, turned back, and asked, "Can I take a picture of you with your sign? I have an idea."
"Sure," the man answered, not knowing why this young woman was interested. But he would take kindness from anyone.
Amelia went to the market and back home, but she fulfilled her promise and returned to the man to give him her shoes for repair. "How much would it be?"
"I'll work on them and have them ready by tomorrow. It'll be $10. Would that be alright?" the man said, gauging her expression to see if that was a fair price.
"Of course!" Amelia replied, smiling widely. A new pair of those shoes could go for $50 or more, so this man saved her so much money. She returned home and decided to give him a tip aside from that $10.
The following day, Martin gave her her shoes and they were in fantastic shape. "Sir, you are skilled! They look great. Thank you so much!"
"You're welcome, young lady. Please tell your friends about me," he requested, and Amelia said goodbye.
That night, she decided to do something with the picture she had taken the day before. She heard about specific posts online that went viral and changed lives, so she wrote about Martin and his story. Amelia expected at least a few people to comment, and she hoped they would offer Martin some business.
But she was shocked when she woke up the following day. There were tons of messages on the post she uploaded on Facebook. She talked to several people who had sent her private messages and wanted to know more about the man.
She told Martin about the success of her post and asked for his address, so people started mailing shoes to him directly and he didn't have to stand in the sun any longer looking for clients. Moreover, Amelia bought him a simple, cheap cellphone, so he could talk to his customers directly.
Eventually, Amelia heard from the owner of an exclusive shoe shop, who asked if Martin was also a shoe designer. He gave it a go and made several samples for the store. The owner later hired him as a freelance designer while he kept fixing shoes for other customers.
Amelia continued helping him through social media until Martin was sort of famous in his town. Everyone who needed repairs went to him, and he eventually started selling shoes from the comfort of his house.
Eventually, Martin made Amelia a unique pair of short-heeled shoes in red that she adored with all her heart. Martin gave it to her for free, grateful for her kindness that changed his life. Amelia realized how amazing things could be if everyone helped each other every once in a while.
What can we learn from this story?
- Doing good for someone else can change their world. Amelia did something kind for an honest man who just needed work, and it changed his life for the better.
- People who believe in an honest day's work will reap what they sow. Martin didn't want to beg for money. All he wanted was work because he believed in hard work, and his perseverance paid off with a bit of help from a kind woman.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a poor older man who didn't let anyone into his house until a neighbor decided to come in.
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