Cesia Abigail Baires treats people from all walks of life equally, so when a homeless man strolled into her café in 2016 to ask for money, she gave him more than just a helping hand.
Then 25-year-old Cesia wanted to know more about his circumstances, so she asked, “Why don’t you have a job? You know nothing is given to me for free, right?”
The man looked down and explained his situation. He said his numerous felonies keep him from getting a job, and because of that, he’s forced to live in the streets and get money the only way he knows how: stealing and begging for it.
Cesia is the 20th owner of the café in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has fought hard to keep her business afloat, and the years had been far from easy. But when the homeless man, named Marcus, entered her café that day, Cesia said she “felt a connection with him.”
She had seen him going up and down on Main Street before, but they never had the chance to interact.
Considering the cards he was dealt with, it was clear that Marcus didn’t have much of a choice, so Cesia decided to give him a chance by offering him a job at Abi’s Café.
“I was short-staffed that day,” Cesia wrote on Facebook. “So I asked him, ‘You want to work? I have a job for you!’ His eyes opened wide and his smile made my day!!!! He said, ‘I’ll do anything for some food.’”
The café owner offered Marcus a sandwich before he got to work, but instead of eating the entire thing, he wrapped half of the meal in foil and ran outside to give it to a homeless woman on the street. Cesia said that gesture “really touched” her.
Marcus proved his dedication by showing up on time every day for his two-hour shift—the number of hours Cesia could afford to pay him—to help take the trash out and wash dishes.
Once he got paid, Marcus bought food from Cesia’s restaurant—insisting he pays—because it makes him feel good.
“Do something nice for someone today and don’t judge them just because they out there asking for money for we don’t know their situation… some deserve another shot,” Cesia ended her Facebook post.
Two weeks later, Marcus hasn’t missed a single shift, which only strengthened Cesia’s faith in him. Despite hitting a difficult time in her business, she knew she made the right choice of hiring him.
“Some restaurants wouldn’t even let you use their restrooms,” Cesia told CBS News. “I don’t judge someone on how they look — go use it. I do not treat [homeless people] any different.”
Their story went viral, and many people said that Cesia was a blessing to the homeless man. But for her, it was the other way around.
“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,” she said.
Marcus, who has been homeless since he was 16 years old, has a long road to improving his circumstances. And to help him with that, the pair decided to take 10 percent from his salary and set it aside so he could learn to save up.
“Just like Marcus, I had my help,” Cesia explained. “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.”
This story proves that sometimes, all it takes is one simple act of kindness to change someone’s life.
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