It does not take much to change a life. A gesture of kindness, a blessing, a moment caught on camera, an offer, any one of these things can shift the course a person takes. But it was all of these things that combined to bring a young man from homelessness to employment and it began with a morning jog. It is the story of a young homeless man who was gifted a pair of shoes by a passing jogger. The homeless man is Joe Arroyo, 30, who had been sitting on the sidewalk with a sign, saying that he was homeless, hungry and that his shoes were broken.
Arroyo said that the jogger, whom he did not know, had walked by and noticed that he had holes on the bottom of his sneakers. Arroyo also explained what the stranger said to him. “[He said], ‘I’ve been blessed pretty much my whole life. God has been very nice to me. … Feels like I should bless you too. Here, take my shoes.’ And, he took them off and gave them to me. I was surprised. … It was something from the heart. … I wanted to…hug the guy or something but then a homeless man hugging somebody is not normal out here.”
This is when things went beyond what either may have expected, you see this act did not go unnoticed. Nearby was someone with a camera who captured the end of the exchange and then took to Twitter under the name of @NYorNothing and posted the video on Sunday, August 18th. It shows a man dressed in a red shirt and dark shorts giving his shoes to a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. The jogger can be seen in the video walking away on bare feet while the homeless man starts to try on the gifted footwear.
It was 9am in the WTC area, I watched as a jogger took off his sneakers, gave them to a homeless man, & walked the NYC streets barefoot.
“Our character is what we do when we think nobody is looking.” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/LT9dnMdHo0
— Antonella212 (Instagram) (@NYorNothing) August 18, 2019
The story doesn’t stop there either! That video ended up going viral and making it onto the news. That is where Andrew Zurica comes in. He had seen the TV piece and wanted to help Arroyo. When asked about his actions Zurica, the owner of Hard Times Sundaes, said he also knew about hitting hard times and second chances at life; in the 1990s, Zurica went to prison for four years for international drug trafficking. When he got out, he created Hard Times Sundaes and what started with a food truck is now three additional eateries — Andrew’s Roadside Classic Burger, Brooklyn Bagel and Luncheonette. So he was able to offer Arroyo a job at one of his businesses.
That is how a moment of kindness took a man from homeless to employed. That is your Good News Story of the Day you can find here. And that is a reminder that kindness doesn’t always stop with the moment. Sometimes it builds and spreads and becomes something much greater. That unknown man may not have known how much he would do. But he knew he did what he could. That is all we can do.
Story and Image from ABC News.