Elmer Alvarez is a man from New Haven, Connecticut. Elmer was homeless. During the summer, living on the streets wasn’t too bad. During the cold New England winters; however, living on the streets was dangerous. Elmer was on the streets because he was once a drug addict. When his 33-year-old brother died suddenly, he turned to drugs to ease his pain. His addiction led him to a life of crime which landed him in jail five times. He even lost contact with his family as a result of his addiction. He also lost his job and his home. Things were bleak for Elmer.
Elmer knew that he had to make some changes. He stopped using drugs, and he went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings to get the support that he needed to stay clean. He was serious about his sobriety, and he beat his addiction. His next struggle was getting off the streets. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. He was homeless, and his appearance showed it. He knew that nobody would choose him over an applicant with a home and a professional looking appearance. Elmer was trapped in a situation that he couldn’t get out of.
A Piece Of Paper On the Streets
Elmer was walking down the street on a cold November day when he saw a piece of paper on the street. Homeless man finds something on the street that changes his fortune forever. He picked it up and discovered that it was a check that had been endorsed. It was for $10,000. This kind of money could have done plenty for Elmer, but he knew that it wasn’t his. He wanted to return it to its rightful owner. Fortunately, there was a phone number on the back. Elmer talked to one of his friends and asked to borrow his phone. Since Elmer didn’t speak English very well, he asked his friend to make the call for him.
The check belonged to a woman named Roberta. She was the CEO and President of Outreach Realty Services and Outreach School of Real Estate. Like Elmer, Roberta didn’t always have it easy. When she was 17-years-old, she got pregnant. She was forced to drop out of school and soon found herself homeless. She was living in a homeless shelter when someone gave her a chance. She was given an internship at Yale University that helped her get out of her desperate situation. When she got the phone call about her check, she couldn’t believe that she had lost it. She was shocked that someone was trying to return it and she wanted to meet this Good Samaritan.
When Roberta met up with Elmer and his friend, Elmer was too polite to draw attention to himself. Roberta was recording the meeting on Facebook Live, and his friend told Roberta that Elmer was the one who found her check. When she found out that Elmer was homeless and living on the streets, it struck a chord. She wanted to do something to help Elmer the way that her internship helped her. Roberta went to her office and wrote Elmer a reward check. She knew that he needed more than this. Rather than giving him a temporary solution to his problem, she was going to set him up for success. The two went their separate ways, and Roberta had a plan in store for Elmer.
When Elmer went to cash the check, he had the proper identification, but the teller refused to cash it right away. He saw a homeless man with a check, so he called Roberta to see if the check was written by her. Roberta felt bad that Elmer was being treated this way. She confirmed that she wrote the check and it made her put her plan into full gear.
Elmer was invited to meet up with Roberta. When he arrived, he walked into a packed room. Everyone was applauding. Roberta presented Elmer with a thank you certificate from Ms. Millionaire Mindset, which is an organization aimed at fighting poverty. Next, she told Elmer that she set him up for classes at her real estate school at no charge. She was even sending him to classes to improve his English. Elmer began to cry. He couldn’t believe this was happening to him. This wasn’t all Roberta was giving Elmer. She told him that there was an apartment waiting for him and the rent and bills were covered in full for six months. Finally, she told him that when he finished the classes and passed the test, he had a job interview waiting for him.
Grateful For His Gift
Elmer wasn’t going to squander this gift. He took the classes and passed his test. When it was time to take his final real estate exam, he aced it. He was put on the Board of Directors of Roberta’s company. He even joined the National Association of Realtors. He and Roberta got together and started a non-profit called Outreach Foundation. They wanted to help other homeless individuals.
They were going to buy dilapidated properties and flip them to transitional homes that would offer services beyond that of homeless shelters. It would give these people the same chances that Elmer had.
Elmer often wonders if it was fate that made him find the check on the day. He wonders if he was meant to meet Roberta so that she could change his life. Roberta is thrilled that she could help him. She believes in paying it forward. That is what she did for Elmer. It is also what she and Elmer are doing for others today.