Abby could not believe it. She knew she was taking a chance by hiring a convict, but what she had just heard on the phone had changed her mind.
She could not move. He was at the restaurant less than an hour ago! His smell still lingered in the store as if he was right there. She had no idea who this man truly was or what he could do.
Abby Smith owned a Scandinavian restaurant for five long years. It had been her dream to own a restaurant and she worked hard to achieve it.
When a homeless man stepped into her restaurant one cold Monday morning, however, she had no idea what was in store for her. Everything was about to change.
After 10 years of working in the hospitality industry long, arduous hours, stuck-up coworkers, and nasty customers were all familiar to her. Abby grew tired of the negative work environment and decided to open her own restaurant.
Abby believed she’d seen it all over her ten-year experience. But she had no idea what awaited her on a Monday morning.
Every day, Abby would wake up at 5 am for work, and that Monday morning was no different.
Abby wished she could snooze her alarm but she knew she needed to get things done. She quickly got up and made herself some coffee. Every day at the restaurant is more or less the same, but not that day. Abby was in for a big surprise…
The moment Abby arrived at work she started cleaning the counters, preparing the food and taking stock. The restaurant business waits for no one!
She opened her store, and not long after a homeless man walked in. Abby was very confused but she could never have imagined how this encounter affected her life.
“Excuse me,” the homeless man softly said. Abby could not hear him properly but he continued, “I’m Ricky, do you have any spare change?” Abby looked up at the homeless man and saw his sad expression. She knew this man had endured hardships. “Do you not have a job?” Abby ignorantly asked. Ricky was taken aback by her question.
“No I don’t,” he replied, avoiding making direct eye contact with her. “I have a lot of felonies so nobody wants to hire me.” Despite this, Abby responded in an inconceivable way.
Abby frequently noticed Ricky wandering outside of her restaurant. He did not cause any trouble and seemed to mind his own business.
So when Ricky strolled into Abby’s restaurant and requested for some change, he had no idea what she would say.
Abby thought long and hard before she did this, but she eventually decided to offer Ricky a job. She was currently short-staffed and she needed all the help she could get. Ricky was so excited!
Abby told Ricky that for that day he could start by tidying up the restaurant and washing the dishes. Ricky started working immediately and worked until lunch. She offered him a sandwich as a thank you for his hard work! He felt so grateful.
When Abby handed Ricky the sandwich, he quickly ran out of the store. She was so confused so she decided to follow him. What she saw made her jaw drop. Abby saw Ricky handing the sandwich to another homeless man.
He quickly returned to the restaurant, and Abby’s heart thrilled at his thoughtful gesture. But she had no idea what was about to happen.
Abby spent her entire day questioning Ricky and learning more about his life. She wanted to get to know the man that was working for her.
He told her he was born in Puerto Rico, but he was otherwise reserved and afraid to open out. What was he trying to hide?
With the restaurant not bringing in enough money, Abby knew she couldn’t keep Ricky on permanently. Times were hard, and Abby was struggling to get by as it is.
So, at the end of the day, Abby said goodbye to Ricky. She thought it would be the last time she would see him. But she was wrong.
However the day after – and for the following two weeks – Ricky appeared at the restaurant, ready to start his shift.
Like clockwork he appeared at the door, his smile beaming through the glass. Abby finally paid him, but what he did next left her lost for words.
You see, as soon as Ricky received his pay, he went and bought a sandwich from Abby’s restaurant and of course, she gave him a staff discount! She bid him farewell and began to close up for the day.
She considered keeping him on permanently, making cuts somewhere in the businesses. But then just as Ricky left, Abby received a phone call that changed everything.
Abby was closing up what seemed like a never-ending day when her phone rang. She picked it up but she didn’t recognize the number.
With hesitation, she answered the call. She had no idea what was coming.
“Do you know Ricky?” a deep, stern voice asked. Abby’s heart quickened, who was this person calling? “It’s the police,” the voice said. “We have some information about him that we think you should know.”
With fear in her stomach, she asked the police to tell her everything they knew about Ricky. But she couldn’t have expected the answer. Not in a million years.
The police claimed that they had encountered Ricky numerous times out and about in the town, so they decided to do a little research.
They found out that Ricky was from Puerto Rico, and he came to the USA in hopes of becoming an actor. However, he soon ran out of money and became homeless. But what the police said next left Abby feeling sick to her stomach.
“Bring him in tomorrow. Make sure he’s at your restaurant; we want to see him,” the police officer demanded.
An uneasy feeling crept up Abby’s spine. Why did they want to see him? Was he in trouble? With hesitation, she agreed. But she had no idea what the police were up to.
The following day Abby arrived at work feeling uncertain about what was ahead. Like clockwork, Ricky appeared at the front door.
As soon as she saw him, Abby wanted to tell him about the police, but her gut told her not to. She was going to wish she had told him.
As soon as Ricky arrived at the restaurant he had a smile on his face. He started to clean down the tables, but then his smile turned upside down as soon as he saw two police officers walk in the door.
Their eyes were looking straight at Ricky.
Ricky quickly tried to leave the restaurant but the two police officers stopped him. They weren’t having any of it.
“Don’t worry,” they said, blocking the exit. But Ricky had every right to be worried when it came to police officers.
You see, four years ago, after failing to make it as an actor and burning through whatever cash he had left, Ricky ended up being homeless.
He was well aware that cops could sometimes be the bad guys so he made sure to stay as far away from them as possible. But Ricky had no idea what these two police officers were going to do to him.
“Come with us now,” they said while leading Ricky outside and into their cop car. Meanwhile, Abby looked out the window feeling sick to her stomach watching Ricky get forced into the car.
What had she done? Had she made a huge mistake? In a couple of hours, all would be revealed. And it would leave Abby dropping to her knees.
Two hours passed and Abby was on the edge of her seat, waiting to hear back from Ricky or the police officers. Thankfully it had been a busy morning, but it was soon the afternoon and she still hadn’t heard anything.
Then as the clock struck 4:30 pm, Abby saw somebody walk in the door, and she was lost for words.
A clean-shaven man with nice clothes walked in and beamed at her. She couldn’t place his face at first, but she’d know that smile anywhere.
It was Ricky, but he looked completely different! The cops had taken Ricky to a hair salon and paid for a haircut for him. They also kitted him out in new clothes. But their acts of kindness didn’t end there.
The officers decided that all Ricky needed was a helping hand. He was a good man who just needed a little help to get out of his rut.
The officers began looking for a decent job for Ricky and even helped with the paperwork to get him into a rental home in a nice neighborhood. But that wasn’t all.
The officers rallied the community to help, and soon people from all over were donating clothes, food, furniture, and other vital supplies to help get him started.
As soon as the housing application went through, Ricky Would have a real roof over his head and a real bed to sleep in. Ricky couldn’t believe it. “I’m in shock, I think,” he said. “This has actually restored my faith in humanity.”
Even if it was a “hand up not a handout”, and even if they said, “he had already done most of the hard work getting his life together by looking for a job”, the gesture was still enough to bring Ricky to tears.
Life had been so hard, and people had been so cold in the past, he had nearly lost all hope in humanity.
Four years of living on the streets had been rough for Ricky. But this new city was a new start, and he would do everything he could to pull himself out of homelessness.
The kindness of strangers had been overwhelming. But would it be enough for him to finally have a new start?
Officer Brandson and his family had been saving all the donated items in their garage while they waited for Ricky’s housing application to go through.
“Now it’s up to him,” Officer Brandford said, “this is a starting point for him. It’s all about being a part of the community.”
Officer Brandford had even managed to get in touch with Ricky’s mom, who was back in Puerto Rico! The two reunited over video chat for the first time in four years!
Ricky was so thankful to the officers, and to Abby for helping him out when he needed it so badly. He had a home, a caring community, authority figures who really cared, and the helping hands that would finally let him have the future he dreamed of.