If you found a wallet fat with cash sitting in the middle of a sidewalk and no one was around, what would you do? The honest thing would be to use the information inside to return the money to its owner. But being honest isn’t always easy, especially when there isn’t anybody watching.
When a young driver named Sydnee bumped her car into another while backing out of a crowded parking lot, she was overwhelmed with guilt, but she tried to do the right thing. When the car’s owner finally tracked her down, she couldn’t believe what the decision she made was leading to…
Sydnee was a young woman who loved to shop. She would frequently drive to her local mall to visit all her favorite stores and leave her car in the parking lot. But one day, her usual trip took a nerve-wracking turn.
One afternoon, however, she pulled into the parking lot and became slightly apprehensive. The lot was more full than it usually was, and fitting her car into a spot was going to prove to be challenging.
She finally settled on a spot, but when she pulled in, there wasn’t even enough room for her to open her door. So, Sydnee backed out to look elsewhere, and that’s when she gasped…
As she was backing out, Sydnee felt her car bump the vehicle next to hers. She immediately panicked as she had never been in an accident before. How exactly was she going to handle this?
She first needed to see just how much damage she caused. Luckily, her car was fine, but the other car had a scratch that left a black paint smudge on the bumper…
Feeling guilty, Sydnee wrote a note explaining what happened and left it underneath the other vehicle’s windshield wipers. She made sure to include her phone number so they could contact her for insurance information, but little did she know who she was leaving the note for.
The car belonged to Stuart Edge, and when it comes to the world of YouTube, many people know exactly who he is. He joined the website in 2012, and since then he has accumulated millions of subscribers and hundreds of millions of views!
Of all the people Sydnee could have literally bumped into, it was someone who made hugely popular internet videos. If Stuart wanted to get even with Sydnee he had the means to do so on a global scale…
Unbeknownst to Sydnee, Stuart and his crew were filming nearby where she was shopping that day. Once they wrapped up a couple hours after Sydnee’s ‘accident’, Stuart saw the note and decided to get the camera back out.
Stuart read the note into the camera. He was in awe at how honest Sydnee was considering the mark on his car was barely noticeable. He met a lot of people in his life, but this note was clearly from someone with a kind heart, so he set out on a mission.
One of Stuart’s crew members suggested pranking Sydnee somehow. She thought they should play a lighthearted joke on the honest young woman and record it all for their next internet video — and they knew exactly what to do.
Stuart’s friend pulled out her cell phone and, pretending to be the owner of the car Sydnee hit, called her. Sydnee was so apologetic, and Stuart’s friend suggested they meet up to exchange information. This was where Stuart came in.
After agreeing on a nearby location, Stuart and his crew parked across the street and saw Sydnee waiting alone at a table. Stuart sat down at the table next to hers, and the two started to chat…
Stuart asked Sydnee why she was there, and she told him how she hit a car in a parking lot and was waiting to meet the vehicle’s owner. After a bit more small talk, Stuart finally pulled out the big reveal.
Stuart told Sydnee the whole thing was a set-up! He pointed out the camera and told her who he was. Sydnee couldn’t believe it. To top it all off, Stuart gave her $200 just for telling the truth.
And Sydnee, wasn’t alone in her willingness to be kind. Even though Elmer Alveraz lived in his car, he made a move no one expected when he found something valuable in the street.
Alvarez had been homeless for several winters in New Haven, so he understood the difficulties of the months ahead. Times had been worse for Elmer, despite his current situation.
Drug addiction had led Elmer down a difficult path. Even though he didn’t have a stable place to rest his head each night, he managed to kick his addictions by attending NA meetings. Talk about beating the odds!
Unfortunately, finding a way out of being homeless constantly tormented him; getting yourself off the streets is much easier said than done. But pacing the familiar streets on one chilly November morning, Elmer walked right up to an opportunity…
Right in the center of the path was a bit a paper. Most people walking by wouldn’t give the scrap a second glance, but Elmer stopped and examined the forgotten note.
It wasn’t a discarded receipt or a bit of trash: the paper was a freshly signed check. Air whooshed from his lungs when his eyes landed on the amount written on the line…
The amount of the check was a stunning $10,000. With it endorsed and ready to go, Elmer could’ve transformed his life with that kind of cheddar! No one was around, nothing was stopping him from running to the nearest bank.
But taking the money never crossed Elmer’s mind, not for a second. He turned the check over and, low and behold, a phone number was in fact listed on the back.
Elmer walked the streets until he finally managed to track down a friend with a cellphone. As a Spanish speaker, he had his friend make the call to the check’s addressee.
Stefano Santucci / Flickr
At the same time, in an office a few blocks away, a prominent businesswoman heard her phone ring. Roberta Hoskie, a self-made real estate magnate, was CEO and President of both Outreach Realty Services and Outreach School of Real Estate. She answered the call.
On the other line, Elmer’s friend explained that his friend found her substantial check and wanted to return it to her. Roberta was floored. Had she really lost something so important?
She rifled through her bag, not believing it was possible, only to quickly realize he was right. Shocked that someone was kind enough to reach out, she agreed to meet him immediately.
Once on the street, Roberta opened Facebook Live to document the resolution of the stranger’s good deed. She spotted Elmer and his friend, and couldn’t thank them enough for doing the right thing.
With Elmer too polite to draw attention to himself, his friend let Roberta know her savior was, in fact, homeless. This struck a chord with Roberta on a personal level that made the events all the more meaningful…
See, before she was a high-powered real estate queen, Roberta faced similar obstacles to Elmer’s. At 17 years old, Roberta was pregnant. To care for her child she had to drop out of school.
She’d been a financially difficult place to begin with, but now, with another mouth to feed, she and her child had no choice but to enter housing shelters to avoid living on the streets.
But thanks to a crucial internship at Yale University that catapulted her life out of debilitating poverty, Roberta was able to break out of the cycle — but she never forgot her time in the shelters.
Oncampus.ru / Flickr
It was because of her past that she knew that her run in with Elmer was not a coincidence. She resolved to take the opportunity to pay it forward, in a big way.
Telling Elmer to wait right there, she hurried back to her office to get her checkbook. She wanted to do more for Elmer than just give him some temporary reprieve.
While brainstorming on Facebook live, a suggestion from a follower gave her the idea. Roberta smiled and vowed, “I’m going to teach him how to fish.”
Back on the street, Roberta handed over a check, this one addressed to Elmer, and he burst into grateful tears. The pair hugged, and Roberta shared her own story with him.
Elmer couldn’t believe just how much they had in common. Their newfound connection fresh in their hearts, they parted ways. That’s when Roberta put her plans into motion.
But prejudice reunited them faster than Roberta expected. When Elmer went to cash his check, even with a signature and his ID, shockingly, the bank refused to help him.
They suspected it was fraudulent, just because Elmer wasn’t their typical customer. A quick call to Roberta eased their unwarranted suspicion about the homeless man.
Two weeks later, Roberta arranged a meeting with Elmer. Thanks to her Facebook video, over 13,000 people heard about Elmer’s good deed, and it piqued the interest of the news media.
When Elmer walked in the door, he was greeted with applause by a packed room. He was totally overwhelmed. This wasn’t what he expected when he agreed to meet! Crazier still, things were about to get even more surprising for him…
Roberta Hoskie / Facebook
First, Elmer was presented with a thank you certificate from Ms. Millionaire Mindset, an organization aimed at combating poverty. Next, Roberta laid out her true plan to “teach Elmer to fish.”
Instead of just paying him for his kindness and honesty, Roberta was going to teach him how to set himself up for success. Elmer was going to be given classes at her real estate school, at no cost to him.
Before classes started, Elmer would be taught to improve his English skills. But Roberta had another even bigger surprise. Emotion strained her voice while she explained the best part of her plan.
Roberta told him she’d found him a place to live, an apartment he could share with his girlfriend, with the first 6 months of rent and bills completely covered in full!
Emotions spilled over. Elmer wrapped Roberta in a hug that said everything he couldn’t. Tears streaked his face, and the relief that he wouldn’t face another night on the streets washed over him.
But Roberta thought of everything, even beyond the 6-month gift. After taking the real estate classes, Elmer was set up with a standing job interview at her colleague’s real estate office.
Once he felt prepared, he could tackle the interview. So thrilled with gratitude, he burst out, “I’m ready now!” But granting all Elmer’s dreams wasn’t Roberta’s goal. She wanted to truly pay it forward…
So, a few weeks later, they met up to see how he was progressing with his real estate classes. With her followers watching live, it was Elmer’s turn to deliver some good news.
Waiting to reveal the results of his real estate exam together, Roberta flipped the cover and beamed. Elmer had passed the test! Now just one test remained between him and an endless path of opportunity.
Public interest in Elmer and Roberta’s inspirational friendship continued to grow. In December, Spanish language television station Telemundo invited the duo on a show to share their unique story.
Elmer revealed that the catalyst was the sudden death of his 33-year-old brother. Tortured by grief, Elmer fell into a life addiction and crime. All in all, he served 5 stints in jail, and in turn, lost contact with the rest of his family…
Indiana Economic Digest
…Until the host told him to turn around. Standing on the stage were Elmer’s two sisters! Viewers watched live as the family rejoiced in their emotional reunion. Roberta, who had been communicating via a translator, wept!
Right when his heart rate stabilized from the big reveal, there came another jolt. After years of not seeing each other, Elmer’s mother walked out on to the stage. It was all too much for everyone’s tear ducts.
Elmer’s simple choice to do the right thing put a set of wheels into motion. A slew of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities presented themselves to Elmer, and Roberta fulfilled her mission to help end the cycle of poverty.
Roberta Hoskie / Instagram
In a few months’ time, Elmer aced his final real estate exam and Roberta put him on the Board of Directors of her company. Motivated, determined not to squander his gifts, Elmer joined the ranks of the National Association of Realtors.
Friends joined by a bizarre twist of fate, Roberta and Elmer focused their energies on a project — with their non-profit, Outreach Foundation — to help other homeless individuals.
Their goal was to acquire dilapidated properties and flip them into transitional homes that offer services beyond the average shelter for the homeless. It would grant people the same shot Elmer was given.