People Who Have Hired A Homeless Person Share Their Heartwarming Stories.

This article is based on the AskReddit question "Redditors who have ever hired homeless people with the "will work for food" signs, what was your experience like?"

[Source can be found at the end of the article]

1. Hardworking and determined

I worked at a Steak-n-Shake as a server on the graveyard shift throughout college. Weirdest place I ever worked - it was right off the interstate and we got the strangest people in around 3 am every night. Anyway, my manager was a really nice guy and one day saw a homeless lady crying outside. She said she had ridden her bike for like 10 miles to get to an interview at the hotel next door, and when the hotel manager realized she was homeless he basically told her to get out and didn't even bother interviewing her. She was so distressed that she just sat down and cried, and my manager saw her while he was taking out the garbage and asked if she was okay. After hearing her story he hired her as a cook, and she was seriously the hardest working person we had in the entire restaurant. She would take any shift and was never late, and never complained. She was pretty rough around the edges and missing most of her teeth, and I don't know if she could have actually had a job where she had to interact one-on-one with the customers ... but I'll be damned if she wasn't an awesome line cook.

I left that job shortly thereafter (again, weirdest place I ever worked) so I don't know what happened to her. I hope she saved up enough to be able to afford housing, because she was really trying to turn her life around.


2. Giving someone what he deserves

I hired one to rake the yard. He was hungry and very much in need. Must say ... he did a thorough job. After, I took him to buy food and introduced him to a local lawn service manager. They hired him, and he's been nothing but truly grateful ever since.

It may not always have a "happy ending" like this, but I'm thankful I could help him get a new lease on life and have a future.


3. A brave man!

In Chile my father and I parked in a sketchy neighborhood when we went to visit some family. Dad sees a homeless guy and gives him $5 and tells him to watch our car. Later, when we're walking back to our car we see some guy trying to take our windshield wipers. My dad's about to yell something when our homeless guy comes running, punches the guy in the back of the head and guy runs off. Homeless dude chases after him but my dad tells him to calm down. Dad gives him some extra cash and we have dinner with him.

10/10 would hire again.


4. Returning the kindness

One super cold night over Christmas break a couple years back, my roommates and I were walking to taco bell and saw a homeless man laying in the parking lot. He had a cheap, thin blanket, so we bought him some food and asked him if he wanted to spend the night inside and he came back and stayed at our house. Via Facebook, we helped him find his daughter who he hadn't spoken to in a couple years, and he was able to wish her a merry Christmas. When I woke up the next day, everything was cleaned. Blankets neatly folded up, and he had left us two pairs of socks and some deodorant. A week later, we came home to find that someone had raked all of our leaves for us. Haven't seen him since, but I hope he is well.


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5. It will remain a mystery

I tried once. Really just wanted my lawn mowed. Told the guy I'd cook him a meal if he mowed my lawn. All I got was a Screw You". He was literally holding a sign that said "Will work for food". Maybe he really was just looking for money. Maybe because I was 19 at the time he thought I was messing with him. I guess I'll never know.


6. Protect the truck!

I picked a guy up on the side of the road in front of a hospital who had a sign that said "Was just discharged, need a ride home." We will call him Dave. I thought I would be nice and give him a ride. He looked kind of sketchy so I told him I would give him a ride to the Wal-Mart near where he needed to go, as long as he was fine with sitting in the bed of my truck. He was very happy about it and he got in. I was driving down a pretty busy highway and I start hearing a car beeping. Dave had taken it upon himself to guard my truck from people tailgating me. He was hurling whatever he could find in my truck bed at the car behind me. It was only small rocks and crushed soda cans but he was giving it all he had. I slammed on the brakes and told him to get out. The car following me stopped too but the guy took off running. It was a really weird experience but I guess Dave meant well.


7. This is dedication

In college I got my fraternity to hire a homeless guy I always talked to do security for our parties. I went to college in a pretty bad city, and my fraternity never turned people away from our parties, so we sometimes had to worry about gang members wandering in.

The school wouldn't provide security since it could be seen as them condoning underage drinking, so I suggested we hire this homeless guy I knew who was always at my go-to munchies gas station because he had actually helped me out when I almost got mugged once and knew a lot of the less than savory characters. We told him we just needed him to let us know if there was anyone he knew might cause a problem. Dude was more professional than most bouncers at the bars I've been to. He made everyone that wasn't obviously a student show their necks and wrists for gang tattoos and ran a tight ship. Our president ended up getting him a bouncer job at club downtown.


8. How did he get there?

My dad worked at a Chinese restaurant when he first immigrated to Canada. They always noticed a homeless man in front of the store so they gave him a job cleaning the store's windows. He worked there cleaning windows for a little bit less than a year and cleaned himself up pretty good. My dad eventually left for school and eventually got a better job and he never really saw him again... Until last year. My dad and I were driving back from a basketball game and guess who we see driving a brand new 2013 Mercedes Benz? I honestly have no clue what happened between those 15-20 years but this man was given a blessing and a half. He gave my dad a nod and a grin right before the light turned green. What a guy!


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9. Actually putting some effort into working

My dad got a homeless guy to help him fill up one of those big dump bins. He said that the first five or so people told him that the signs were just for show and they weren't interested and then he got someone who was all for it. Dude did the work and got paid; no complaints. Asked if he could do the laundry and shower, which was fine; he did the work in terrible clothes that my dad had lying around (for working out/working in).

My dad did say that he was careful with who he asked and avoided people who looked off.

Living in the East Bay, I'd just go to one of the day laborer spots and get one of them.


10. Lending a helping hand

I had a homeless man help me carry groceries home; a friend was supposed to pick me up but decided a movie was more important. So I'm struggling to carry ~40lbs of groceries home in 100F plus weather when a scruffy looking guy offers to help me. He takes half of my load and makes pleasant conversation, but once the groceries were dropped off, he just tries to leave with a small "goodbye."

I tell him to take a shower while I cooked. I give him some of my boyfriend's undesirables and some pocket money, fed him, and told him to stay the night. I was probably too trusting, but my boyfriend was out of town and I didn't want to be alone. In the middle of the night, I go to the bathroom and hear him crying quietly in the living room. He was gone before I woke up in the morning, and nothing in my apartment was missing. I didn't see him again until a year later when he was working for the garbage pick up.

He looked a lot happier, despite working around trash all day, and I was happy he could find a place that would hire him and help him out of the situation he was in.


11. When your friends bail.

I hired a homeless guy to help me load furniture into my moving van after my friend flaked on helping me. He was an area regular and worked a corner two blocks from my apartment. He was always polite and would always apologize if he asked for some change before recognizing who I was.

He did an outstanding job. I ordered him a pizza, let him take a shower and gave him $100. He gave me his favorite book to read because he thought I would enjoy it. It was overall a very positive experience.


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12. All worth it

I've done it twice.

The first time we needed help moving bags of concrete and setting posts for a playground. I hired two homeless "will work for food" dudes to help us carry, by hand, 400 bags of concrete to the site...uppity facility so we couldn't trailer them over even use dollies or wheelbarrows. We had to carry them by hand.

The job would not have been completed that day had it not been for those two guys. They got fed for the day and $100 each for 8 hours work.


13. There is a hustle in everything

We've hired hundreds of them over the last 20 years mainly because I'm lazy and I can make more money with my time doing what I do. The only really memorable one was Tayvon. Tayvon stopped me in our parking lot one Friday morning and said he needed some work and he was willing to do whatever we had. Just the day before I'd gotten a notice from the city saying the bamboo on our backlot was getting out of hand and we needed to get rid of it. It's a little over an acre and if you've ever seen how bamboo grows there were THOUSANDS of 20' stalks. Told him I'd give him $100 to do it. Gave him a machete and figured I'd never see him or the machete again. Over the course of the day he cut every damn piece of the bamboo down and had them laid in a couple of huge piles. Paid him his money, thanked him, and told him I'd get my guys to haul it to the dump Monday. He asked me if he could have the big pieces first and I gladly let him. Came back in Monday morning and he was back in the lot helping somebody load a monster sized load of bamboo onto a trailer. He'd spent the weekend cutting all the branches off and trimming it into 6' long sections and was selling them all for $350 to a local plant nursery he'd done day labor work for in the past. We talked about it for a few minutes after the truck left and he just kept smiling and saying there was a hustle in everything, you just had to find it.


14. The most generous hitchhiker

I once picked up a hitchhiker that was trying to get from Washington to New Mexico when I was camping in Yellowstone. He had family in New Mexico that offered to help him, and had a good job lined up, he just had to get there.

So we picked him up and took him back to Colorado with us. He stayed on our couch for a week or two and picked up our mess and took care of maintenance I grossly neglected. My roommates and I were in college at the time and partied 3-4 days a week, so you can imagine the mess. The little money he would get from doing odd jobs for neighbors and such he would use to buy food and beer for all of us.

One day I had an errand to run about 50 miles closer to his destination but still 300+ miles from where he needed to be. He came with me and when he got out of the car handed me a letter and said don't read it until I get home. He then walked through a field straight towards the Rocky Mountains.

When I got home we all read the letter and it is the kindest set of words I've ever received. About a month later we get a call from an area code I don't recognize. It was him! He made it and called us on his first payday at his new gig. He also told us about the remainder of his journey. Turns out he walked and camped a large portion of the way back.

I have since moved multiple times and have grown up a bit. He's still welcome back whenever he wants though.

I hope all is well Freddy!


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15. Turned his life around

My parents have a house in Florida they rent out. My dad was down there doing repairs to it when a homeless man on a bike stopped by and asked if my dad needed help. Dad decided to hire him. Alton (the homeless man) helped my dad repaint the house, mow the lawn, and cut out all the overgrown plants. When the house wasn't rented and my family was up north, my dad paid Alton to mow the yard and keep an eye on the place.

While working with my dad, Alton asked Dad if he could borrow some money to buy some nice pants and shoes for an interview he had for a job. Dad wasn't sure he could trust him yet so instead my dad took him out to a store and they went shopping together for these items. Alton got the job as a chef and eventually got himself a room in a house with some other guys. Occasionally Alton will ask my dad for some emergency money and he always finds a way to pay it back.

I'm glad it all worked out for Alton.


16. Understanding kids and their situation

I was a shift leader at a Hardee's (Carls Jr for you west coast people) and it was perfectly located near where the homeless and all the skate kids hung out at. Both groups used to come in and harass everyone before I became a shift leader. Once I got to that point, instead of yelling and kicking them out I decided to sit them down and ask whats going on.

I come to find out, many of those teenagers and kids were either living in abusive homes or even homeless. I got the idea to use the food people mess up, and even using my manager meal to feed these poor kids while I could.

I became real close with many of them, and to this day keep up with all of them. One, in particular, used to be in and out of jail. A lot. I promised him every time he comes out I'll buy his first real meal. Well after a while, I moved jobs and got him a job where I worked at, a few months later, helping him out with what I could. He got a place, his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time, moved in and they are doing great and their baby is adorable.

Being able to help and understand so many of those kids really changed my view on so many kids and why they act the way that they do.


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17. Inspirational words from a homeless woman

When I was poor, living in my first apartment, there was a homeless woman who hung around outside my apartment complex. She always hit me up for cash or cigarettes, and it started getting awkward. I was always broke, and barely keeping a roof over my own head, so seeing her and being unable to help most days made me feel bad. I finally just told her, "Look, I'm barely scraping by. I'm sorry to say no so often, but I'm eating Pringles for dinner this week, and I really can't help. If I ever have something extra, you can have it. Just please stop asking."

When I saw her the next morning on my way out she said, "Looking good, girl!" When I got home from work, she said, "Go on kick your feet up. You've had a long day." I gave her a cigarette.

Every morning, she said something nice or inspirational, and every evening, she told me I'd earned some R&R. Because she was so nice, I always tried to find something I could part with (loose change, clothes I would otherwise donate, leftovers). It turned into a really nice, symbiotic relationship, and I missed her when she moved on.


19. Help them get up and walk again

Small business owner. We had a remodel done on our building and had a lot of things to move around. Lots of furniture, supplies, etc. and on that particular day, two employees had to be away for a funeral of a mutual friend of theirs. Across from my location, and a bit down the street is a Wendy's. You have to pass it to get to my business from the main highway. Saw a man in front of their lot saying basically "Will work for food". He looked like a young, fairly healthy person and I decided to stop. We were down two people and really needed to get things done, and something just got me to go ahead and stop and chat a moment.

Turns out he had an unfortunate set of circumstances unfold for him. For privacy's sake won't get into them but he was homeless by no choice of his own. He confided he had a lot of family problems. He was only 18, and I offered to buy him lunch, and dinner, if he'd come help us out. He got in my truck after we ate and chatted a bit. We went to my business, and not only did he work, he worked his butt off. I have a good staff but, to be honest, he did more than they were doing. I was impressed and that night not only did I offer him dinner but a job too. Had to help him a few places along the way. He had nowhere to shower, no change for laundry, and I helped him out. By his 3rd week, he was doing great.

Fast forward 4 years and he is one of my most trusted managers, still my hardest worker. A year and a half ago he got married, they have a new baby girl. I interviewed I don't know how many people over the years and I'd have never found someone like him. 

I wouldn't have stopped ordinarily, but I am glad I did. Sometimes people genuinely just need a hand, and not only will they take full advantage, they'll make something of themselves. Some people are just going through a rough patch and are not looking for handouts, they're just looking for someone to help them get up and walk again.



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