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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One Day’s Wages

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#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

So, here's my humble ask: As we do this work, would you consider making a pledge to support our work...so that we can keep doing this work with integrity and excellence?
You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

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We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
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