Because life comes at us so quickly, it can sometimes seem overwhelming. If we’re not present and paying attention, we can easily get distracted or feel like we’re missing important opportunities, either for ourselves or for others. More often than not, we’re so caught up in our own lives that we forget to get out of our heads to look for chances to help others. When we do manage to do this, though, amazing things can happen.
This is a story about one of those instances.
It all started when 16-year-old Chauncy Jones went to the grocery store.
Jones was an excellent student and a good son, living with his mother in Memphis, Tennessee. Still, Jones’ family was poor. He was trying to get a job to help his mom out with the household expenses, things like food, bills and rent. To start things off, he went to a Kroger and walked around, asking strangers if they could help buy him a few basic groceries. For starters, he just wanted to get a snack of some glazed donuts.
It was in that moment that his life was about to change.
Jones approached another man from Memphis named Matt White.
Jones approached White in an electric cart with only a pack of donuts in it. He asked White if he could carry his groceries back to his car for him if White would buy him the pack of donuts. Needless to say, White was shocked and touched. Although Jones only asked for some donuts for breakfast, White decided to go all in and get him a whole house full of groceries!
After the situation was explained, the two of them made their rounds around the store together, buying everything Jones needed.
After they went shopping, White took Jones home and saw how he and his family were living.
At the end of it all, White shared his experiences on Facebook with the whole world:
“I just met the most inspiring person ever. His name is Chauncy Jones. He’s a 16 year old from Memphis. He had taken the bus at 9:00 at night to get to the “rich people’s Kroger” on Highland as he called it. He approached me while I was shopping for produce asking if he could help me carry my grocery bags to my car in exchange for buying him a pack of glazed donuts. This kid looked like he had been turned down 100 times. He looked ashamed, hungry and broken. In my heart I screamed a loud “yes!”, but to him I just chuckled and said, “yeah dude, we’ll get you some donuts” . . .
All the while we talked and he told me how he makes straight A’s in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent. This kid was amazing. Chauncy kept calling himself poor, but he told me that one day he was gonna be wealthy and own his own businesses so that he could help other people in his neighborhood and buy them groceries like me. I was in awe. I gave him a ride home so that he didn’t have to take the bus and when we got to his house I was truly humbled. He wasn’t kidding. He and his mom had nothing. They didn’t even have beds or furniture. They were sleeping on pads made out of sleeping bags, they had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing. His mother was so sweet but very fragile. I couldn’t tell what it was, but she had some sort of physical and/ or mental disability that made her shake and made walking difficult. I thought I was going to cry.”
The post was shared more than 30,000 times on Facebook and was covered by many different news outlets—but that wasn’t the end of the story.
After seeing everything, White knew he had to help their family more.
He started a GoFundMe for Chauncy’s family which quickly ballooned past a few hundred dollars to a few thousand to more than $300,000! As part of their journey, Chauncy and his mother used some of the money and donations to fund Chauncy’s lawn-mowing business, healthcare costs, furniture and other essentials.
And to this day, Chauncy and Matt are the best of friends.
Anyone who looks on Matt’s Facebook can see the chronicles of their friendship together.
Above all, this story is a reminder that it pays to open our hearts and be present in the moment. Although it’s easy to worry only about ourselves and to stay shut off from the world, letting other people in can sometimes open us up to all kinds of miracles.
Congratulations to Chauncy and his family—and to Matt on the new friendship!
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