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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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