Instead of turning away a homeless man asking for help, a Minneapolis restaurant owner offered him a chance to work.
Celia Abigail Baires, 25, said that when Marcus, who was living on the street in Minneapolis, walked into her restaurant, El Salvadorean, he was asking for money, NY Daily News reports.
“I was really, really tired. I told him I don’t have the money,” Baires said. Baires thought of another way that she could help Marcus while getting help at the business that she works long hours running.
“‘But I have a job for you, if you really want to work,'” Baires reportedly told Marcus. She offered him a two hour shift, taking out the trash and washing dishes. “That made his face so happy. I didn’t think I would get that reaction from him.”
Baires said that she had seen Marcus before, “going up and down on Main Street like a lot of other homeless people.” She added that she “felt a connection” with Marcus as he walked into the store before she offered him a job.
“I told him nothing is given for free here. Even my family pays when they come in here,” Baires said.
After she offered him a chance to work, she said Marcus was ecstatic. He said that he had tried to find work before, but hadn’t been able to get a job because of a criminal record. While living on the streets, Marcus had needed to steal and panhandle in order to survive, according to Little Things.
After Marcus had completed his two-hour shift of work, Baires gave him a sandwich – which she said he ate part of, and saved the rest for a friend from the street. “He told me, ‘I know she’s hungry,'” said Baires.
Marcus continued to come to El Salvadorean to offer to work. On days when Baires was short-staffed, she gave him a shift.
“A lot of people are saying I’ve been a blessing for him, but at that point I was the one who needed a blessing,” Baires told CBS News. She said that on the day Marcus came in, she was struggling with her business.
“I was the one ready to give up my goals,” said Baires. “He has been a blessing for me and my business.”
Baires has set up a crowdfunding page for Marcus, whose goal is to find a place to live. So far, the GoFundMe page has raised almost half of its $1,000 goal.
“Just like Marcus, I had my help,” said Baires. “I had plenty of people to help make it to where I am today. They believed I could do it. People need to have someone believe in them.”