A hungry homeless man saw an older woman struggling to carry her heavy grocery bags. He helped her out and carried them to her house. The next day, the grocery store owner’s men grabbed him by his shirt and brought him to the store after the woman found something she never shopped for in her bag. They say there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but for some people, it’s easier said than done. Texas-based carpenter Alfred Tyler has a story like this.
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017, it ruined more than just his home. Alfred lost his house to the catastrophic flooding, and the only person he called family, his beloved wife Sophia, was one of among hundreds who lost their lives. Since then, Alfred had been living on the streets, homeless and a widower. He saw no hope in living and couldn’t find any job. He quit going to church and often argued with God for making his life so miserable.
But one day, God answered all his questions in the most unthinkable way. On a hot afternoon in June 2021, Alfred was wandering the streets looking for some shade. He was thirsty and hungry. He dug into the pockets of his ragged pants and heard a few dimes clink. He decided to save them to buy a bun or bread for dinner.
Exhausted and sweating, Alfred arrived at a supermarket’s parking lot. It was filled with many vehicles, so he thought nobody would find him waiting out the afternoon there. Whenever Alfred saw shoppers coming out, he walked toward them, extending his hand for arms. While some tossed a dime or two, others mostly ignored him as if it were nothing. Alfred was hurt, but what could he possibly do?
Whenever something like this happened, he’d either grin or blame God for his situation. Tired and hungry, Alfred decided to take a nap on the empty spot where he had taken refuge for the afternoon. He’d almost dozed off when he heard something scraping on the floor a little farther away from him. “What’s that noise?” he mumbled and lifted his head to see an older woman had just exited the supermarket with a shopping cart, trying to unload her heavy bags and carry them.
Alfred couldn’t just wait and watch. He got up, never mind that he could smell his own sweat, and approached the wealthy-looking woman to help. “Hi there, do you need any help? Please give it to me. I’ll help you out,” he said, grabbing the shopping cart.
Alfred began unloading the bags from it and looked at her again. “I can carry them for you to your house if you don’t mind,” he said shyly. The older woman was stunned by the stranger’s interest in helping her out because nobody had done this to her before. She often shopped there, and most of the time, she carried her bags herself and loaded them in her car. But that day, she didn’t take her car and had to walk home carrying the hefty baggage.
After a brief thought, she asked Alfred if he was sure and told him she had no money. “I can’t pay you, young man. I just spent my last dime shopping,” she looked at a homeless stranger from head to toe, assuming he would just walk away shouting or cursing at her for wasting his time. But Alfred’s reply made her realize that not all poor people were after money. “You look like my mother, and I wouldn’t charge my mother for my help,” Alfred said.
“Please allow me to carry these bags for you,” he insisted, picking up the heavy bags. For 15 minutes or so, Alfred followed the older woman to her house with her bags. When they got there, she invited him for a cup of tea, but he refused. The stranger’s kindness touched the woman’s heart as she watched Alfred wave and disappear into the street. Then she checked her bag and was startled to find something she didn’t remember purchasing.
She examined the item and decided to track down the homeless man immediately. The woman revisited the supermarket the following day and looked around for Alfred, but he wasn’t there. She walked into the store and met with the owner, asking him to find the homeless man. “Can you find him, please? He must have come here,” she said.
“The CCTV footage should help. When did you see him?” “Yesterday,” the store owner replied. “I think at around 2 PM, he was in the parking lot.” The store owner told the technician, “Is that him?
he asked the woman, pointing at Alfred on the computer screen. “That’s him. Yes, that’s the guy. Let’s find him,” the older woman said. After seeing the homeless man in the store CCTV footage, the supermarket owner sent his security guards to look for Alfred.
He guessed the man lived on the same street or in the same town. After hours of searching platforms, bus stands, and parking lots, the men returned with Alfred, grabbing him by his shirt. When the older woman saw how they held the poor man, she became furious. “Leave him! You were told to bring him, not drag him!
Alfred was frightened and had no clue what was happening. “What’s happening? I didn’t do anything,” he said, his eyes filled with tears and fear. “These men found me in the bus stand and asked if I was here yesterday. When I told them I was, they grabbed me by my shirt and brought me here.
I didn’t do or steal anything.” Alfred kept begging them to let him go. That’s when the older woman came across and hugged him while the others watched in surprise. “Mom, what are you doing?” the store owner asked her.
As it turned out, she was the supermarket owner’s mother and wanted to meet Alfred to return the chain that had accidentally slipped into her bag. “I saw this chain, and when I opened the locket, I saw this picture. Is she your wife?” she asked Alfred. The man burst into tears and told her he thought he’d lost the only memory he had of his late wife.
“I thought I’d never see it again,” Alfred cried. “I looked for it yesterday but couldn’t find it.” The older woman told her son Jake about Alfred’s kind act the previous day. She took him aside, and minutes later, the mother and son approached the homeless man with some good news that moved him to tears. “What did you say your name was?
Jacob asked him. “Alfred Tyler, Mr. Tyler. Glad to meet you,” Alfred said. “I’m Jacob Johnson.
We were looking to hire someone to help our elderly customers carry their bags. I think it’d be a good fit. What do you think?” Jacob asked. Alfred couldn’t believe his ears.
Tears gushed down his eyes as he folded his hands in gratitude and nodded his head. He was overly delighted, and for the first time since the tragedy, he thanked God for helping him. Jacob handed him a uniform set and asked him to start the next day. Alfred was gladdened. Before leaving, he looked at the older woman to thank her.
“Thank you so much. You’re no different from my mother,” he said in tears. “And you’re no different from my son,” she said, petting Alfred on his shoulder before leaving. He stopped to ask her for a name. “Mary.
My name’s Mary Johnson,” she said, moving Alfred to tears once again. His late mom’s name was also Mary. From that day on, Alfred, a once homeless man, reaped the sweet fruits of his compassion. He got a good job and started going to church every Sunday. Even more, he never complained about anything or blamed God ever again.