Millions of people around the world have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them is Brian “Sooty” Wallace, a man in New Zealand who had been laid off from his work when the crisis started. Luckily for him, he met a kind stranger who happens to be a business owner who helped him escape unemployment.
Rishi Sharma, a business owner who runs multiple Domino’s stores, was on his way to work one day when he came across Sooty holding a sign made from a discarded pizza box. Upon taking a closer look, he found that the box was actually from one of his stores.
He approached the man and asked him how he was doing. During that first interaction, Rishi already had a good feeling about Sooty.
“As soon as I spoke to him, the manners were very nice,” he said.
Rishi noticed that Sooty was shivering, so he offered to have coffee with him in a nearby cafe. He learned that Sooty hasn’t had anything to eat that day, so he offered to make him a pizza at his Lower Hutt store. Rishi made him a ham and cheese, his favorite variant.
The pair chatted more while the pizza was cooking, and Rishi learned that Sooty had lost his job because of COVID-19 and was homeless.
Touched by his story and humble attitude, Rishi decided to offer him something more permanent than a warm meal. He asked him if he would like to work for him, and Sooty said yes!
Two days later, Sooty arrived early for his first shift at Domino’s Lower Hutt, where Rishi offered him a position as a wobble-boarder.
“On his first shift, I trained him on all of the wobble-boarding basics, including where to stand outside of the store and how to safely hold the board,” Rishi said.
Sooty learned quickly and had all the basics down by the end of his first shift. Rishi said he will continue training the new employee in more areas of store operations. Soon, Sooty will learn how to take orders and make delicious pizzas.
Sooty said he feels “very lucky” for getting the chance to work at Domino’s.
“At the end of the day, I am just happy to be working and enjoying every minute of it.”
On the other hand, Rishi is grateful to be a part of a business that allows him to help people in need.
“Within 48 hours I was able to help a man go from being unemployed, to employed – providing him with a simple, yet life-changing opportunity,” he said.
After a few weeks of getting a new job, Sooty found himself in a much better place. He’s excelling at his workplace, and he’s also slowly getting back to his feet. In fact, he already has a place to live!
“He is very happy, he has a house in Taita now and Work and Income (NZ government assistance) has been very amazing. I spoke to them last Monday and a lot of things have been sorted,” Rishi said about Sooty’s current situation.
Aside from getting Sooty the help he needs, the Domino business owner is also glad that he’s got a new friend at work.
Now more than ever, this man understands that what the world needs right now is this – kindness.
“At the end of the day, I believe that the world is full of nice people. But if you can’t find one, then be one,” Rishi said.
Watch the video below to learn more about this story.