Biz that Gives
Restaurant gift card brings homeless man ‘a whole new beginning’ [Video]
- Kenneth Smith used to wander on the street, without a job and a home.
- A few months ago, a woman gave him a $100 gift card he could spend in a restaurant for food.
- That experience led him to meet the manager, who offered him a job and posted about his situation on social media — leading an entire community to help him with lodging, clothing, and many more.
This is a story about how a single act of kindness sprouts a chain of goodwill.
One day, in his usual routine of wandering around and sitting outside restaurants in hopes for meals, homeless Kenneth Smith met a stranger — who, he realized later on, was the start of the change in his life.
While outside an Outback Steakhouse in Fort Worth a few months ago, Kenneth was approached by a random woman leaving the restaurant, who gave him a $100 gift card he could spend for food, ABC affiliate WFAA reported.
“She asked me was I alright, so I told her, ‘No, I’m not okay at this time,’” Kenneth recalled.
Kenneth used the card to buy himself food which made him “big and full.” That experience led him to a conversation with Outback’s managing partner, Laura Hodges.
In their conversation, Kenneth disclosed how a woman coming out of Outback has helped him — inspiring Laura herself to help.
“I said, ‘Hey, I don’t ever want you to want for food or go hungry,’” Laura told WFAA. “‘I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here’s my business card. Bring it anytime.’”
Kenneth returned on and off to the restaurant for meals with his gift card for five months, before he asked Laura for a job. He was soon hired to bus tables and clean up, and has been doing the work for one month.
Laura’s desire to help his now-employee didn’t stop with just offering him a job, especially knowing that he didn’t have a place to stay. On April 3, she posted on the Fort Worth Foodie Facebook group, explained Kenneth’s situation, and asked for motel recommendations that cost less than $60 per night.
Laura was so surprised when instead of motel suggestions, she got numerous comments offering donations to cover Kenneth’s lodging!
“I had absolutely no idea that people were going to latch onto that,” Laura shared. “All they wanted to do was throw assistance out there and resources in any way that they possibly could.”
Kenneth has not only stayed at a nearby hotel for the last six weeks, he also received other donations: more than $2,200 cash, a bike, clothing, kitchen items, and groceries!
“This is a whole new beginning that God has blessed me with, so I’m trying to get on this right good track that he wants me to stay on,” Kenneth said. “God is good. If he can do it for me, he can do it for anybody else.”