Eugene Cho

homeless man donates thousands

This is such an amazing story. I read the story this morning and just started weeping.

It’s the story of a homeless man named Curtis Jackson who has raised over $9000 thus far to help with a “down-on-her-luck” banker named “Sandy.” According to the article:

A year ago, everything was going right for a woman we’ll call Sandy.

She had a good job at a bank in the suburbs.

She and her 10-year-old son had a safe home.

But then the world came crashing down around the 39-year-old. She lost her job. She lost her house. And she and her son moved into her truck. Police found her and DCFS threatened to take away her son if she didn’t find a safe place to stay.

She moved into a hotel with the help of a social worker who paid for a few nights stay with her own money.

There’s so much to learn from this article:

  • Never underestimate the good of humanity – even from those we often cast out to the margins.
  • Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to judge the “homeless” person with that sign…
  • The best way to love our neighbor is to serve our neighbor.
  • Sow kindness and generosity. It’s gonna come back.
  • We’re all going to go through our down and out moments.

And how about this word of truth:

Jackson said he’s a man of faith; homeless, but not hopeless, and he’s got some words of wisdom for the people he sees bustling by every day.

“I have God. I’m one of the richest men on this earth, ’cause I have God,” he said. “Money is not my master. That’s what’s wrong with this world: money is its master.”

Wow. Amazing. Makes me wonder if we truly believe in the Gospel?

What are your thoughts?

Here’s the full article:

Homeless Chicago Man Donates Thousands to Down-On-Her-Luck Banker

A year ago, everything was going right for a woman we’ll call Sandy.

She had a good job at a bank in the suburbs.

She and her 10-year-old son had a safe home.

But then the world came crashing down around the 39-year-old. She lost her job. She lost her house. And she and her son moved into her truck. Police found her and DCFS threatened to take away her son if she didn’t find a safe place to stay.

She moved into a hotel with the help of a social worker who paid for a few nights stay with her own money. That’s when Sandy’s knight in shining armor showed up. And he’s kept showing up, every day, paying her hotel bill, so she and her son can stay off the streets.

But Sandy’s Good Samaritan isn’t a Chicago big shot. He isn’t living in a Loop highrise. He doesn’t even have a job.

Sandy’s Good Samaritan is Curtis Jackson, who’s been homeless since 2004. He pays for Sandy’s hotel room because she used to treat him with dignity and kindness when she did have a house — and he pays for it by panhandling and giving the money to her.

“All I can do is get out there and put a sign in my hand, or put a cup in my hand and ask people to help me out, and everything I get, except maybe bus fare and something to eat, I give it to her,” Jackson said as he stood at the corner of 55th and Harlem.

Jackson pays the nightly bill by pouring his bucket of change on the hotel counter. Since December, he’s raised $9,000, and he’s given it all to Sandy. He said sometimes 40, 70, a hundred cars go by before someone gives him a few pennies or a few bucks.

Sandy can’t believe it.

“I’ve donated to charities, I’ve helped other homeless families — never realizing that one day we’d be in this situation,” she said. “So thank God that we did have an angel waiting for us.”

Jackson said he’s a man of faith; homeless, but not hopeless, and he’s got some words of wisdom for the people he sees bustling by every day.

“I have God. I’m one of the richest men on this earth, ’cause I have God,” he said. “Money is not my master. That’s what’s wrong with this world: money is its master.”

Sandy said she doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to repay Jackson, who’s become like a brother.

“I’m out here for a purpose: to help someone, and that’s all I’m trying to do is help someone that needs help right at this moment,” he said. “And once she doesn’t need help anymore, I’ll move on to something else.”

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25 Responses

  1. I’m weeping at work right now.

    I don’t understand how I’ve skated by life without really loving the poor and could still call myself a follower of Christ. I am ashamed. Just completely ashamed.

    This morning, before I even read this story, I was crying on the subway trying not to make a scene while God was absolutely convicting me that I need to love the least of these.

    Last night I cried in my bed after coming to know of Eliot Rausch and his work of giving a voice to the voiceless.

    It’s time. I need to act. I can’t live like this anymore.

  2. Robin says:

    I saw this article earlier this am and loved it. Always to remember that money is not my master and trying to remember to live that way.

  3. Darrell says:

    This is incredible. I have met a couple of homeless guys in my life that have similar hearts for the Lord and compassion for other. It is really a beautiful thing. I love hearing stories like this.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sejin says:

    I can’t believe it. At the same time I can. I was once sharing the Gospel to James and Dale. James was a homeless man and Dale was on the verge of becoming one. In the middle of our conversation, James gives Dale about $2 (all that he has), only to find out a few seconds later that there was change rattling in his pockets. He laid out the 50 cents in the palm of his hands and said, “God will multiply”.

    I shed many tears that night. I will definitely spread Curtis’s story around.

  5. the trash translator says:

    I heard a rumor….
    I hear that the ten year old is HIS son. That panhandling is his hustle. That he would not do odd jobs for less than 25/hr because he made more doing nothing. And that they are a couple and have been together for more than a decade.

    Maybe he should have kept his face of the news, too.
    Makes you go hmm…

    • catesongbird says:

      Thanks for bringing a possible reality to this story. I still think the story speaks volumes to the kind of generosity and love that moves people’s hearts to tears. Also, if what you’re saying is true, then actually, good for him for taking care of his son. He’s actually not “doing nothing” – he’s raising money! Panhandling is work too! haha!

    • Eugene Cho says:

      huh. do you have a link?

    • Andy M says:

      While I do think we need to see the reality instead of turning stories such as this into perfect tear inspiring examples of love, when sometimes they aren’t quite that. We also need to be careful not to disregard the story entirely because the people involved may not be saints.

      Odd jobs are not consistent jobs. Panhandling may be more consistent and so that is what he chose to do. When you are homeless you aren’t necessarily worried about what is respectable, you are worried about shelter and food. And Panhandling is not a hustle when you are homeless. He also may be incapable of getting a steady job, like many unemployed people today, and being homeless makes it all that more difficult.

      I find it unlikely that a banker was having a romantic relationship with a homeless guy. Not to say it couldn’t happen, but it would be very out of the ordinary. If he is the child’s father, but they split and he is now homeless, then it is still commendable as he is taking care of his ex, and his child.

      All in all, it seems a beautiful story to me, and a challenge to us who are more fortunate.

    • Eugene says:

      In reply to your curiosity of this man. My wife and I met this man one day coming off a the ramp with a flat tire. He changed our tire and accepted nothing but a thanks.After talking to him, we discovered that he does have children and a kind heart. He told us he had three children, all whom all grown. Get your facts right before judging him and spreading lies not rumors.I would know this about him because as it turns out, he knew some of my relatives and I found out I knew some of his!

  6. This is so amazing and inspiring! I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity lately, and this story makes me realize that my version of generosity is often one that leaves me feeling good, but safe in what I keep back for myself. Wow.

  7. […] (b) Now having read Spivey’s post, read Eugene Cho’s powerful reporting entitled homeless man donates thousands. […]

  8. Pat Pope says:

    Makes you wonder why he hasn’t taken the money to dig himself out of his own hole, but it’s the ultimate example of selflessness. Now I hope that someone will help him.

  9. Jo Ann says:

    To The Trash Translator: Jesus had skeptics too. And He certainly proved them wrong. I hope you’re proven wrong too!

  10. […] Homeless man donates thousands This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  11. shantel says:

    I have worked with the homeless and have met some very kind hearted. They are some homeless peopl who remain homeless do to mental issues, hurts or just plain fear of main streaming back into society. Often bought into the American dream and lost it all or mayb subtance abuse but after a while they become comfortable being homeless and actually feeling free and relieved without the presures of every day life. We actually have worked with some homeless to simple help them make the mental or emtional connection to want reconnect to main stream society. I think the have a feeling of being let down to the exstreme and will often help others cause they know what its like. One homeless guy would help us help other homeless people to take shelter but wouldnt take it for himself. I hear they got him to go in by helping him make the connection that he could help other homeless people in doing so. I also hear he is staff at the shelter now.

  12. Roland says:

    I don’t want to live for this world, but for the next. Storing up treasures in heaven. Your reward is in heaven Curtis. Christ is alive!!! And working/walking in us…

  13. […] Originally posted: Homeless man donates thousands. […]

  14. Christian X says:

    What a moving story! If only all of us could have such faith.

  15. […] thankful for Ameneh. I’m thankful for the stories of others like Curtis Jackson – a homeless man that rescued a down-and-out banker named Sandy (and her kid) from […]

  16. Fred says:

    I’m going to work 40/hrs a week busting my a@@ off and this guy is making more money than I am just walking around holding a sign. $9000 over 4 months! Sign me up!

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 4 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago