Homelessness is a prevalent issue in the United States and around the world. Getting an accurate count across the nation is difficult, but in 2017 the national Annual Homeless Assessment Report noted that over 500,000 people experienced homelessness in just one night. Another study showed that in the past 5 years, the number of people who experienced homelessness in America was 5.7 million. And this number doesn’t include those who were able to find a friend or relative willing to let them sleep on the couch for a while. (1)
Photo credit: Jasmine Scofield
A Homeless Man with a Plan
One homeless man decided to do something a little out of the ordinary in an attempt to better his situation. And this decision both changed his life, as well as touched many lives of those around him. With a bit of bravery, creativity, and some help from Twitter, this homeless man was able to find the success he was looking for.
His name is David Casarez, a college graduate from Texas A&M University. After working for a few years at General Motors he moved to California to follow his dreams and try for a job in the tech industry. What followed were several months of rejections until he ran out of money and found himself sleeping on a park bench.
But even from rock bottom, Casarez didn’t give up hope. He put on his best suit, gathered up his resumes, painted a sign that read, “Homeless Hungry 4 Success Take A Resume”, and stood on street corners networking with motorists and passersby. (2)
Photo credit: Jasmine Scofield
Twitter Finds the Homeless Man a Job
Things really took a turn for the better when Jasmine Scofield, a local of Silicon Valley, found Caserez on the corner of El Camino and San Antonio. Scofield was impressed with Casarez’s initiative and figured she could do her part to give him a leg up. She posted a picture of his resume on Twitter asking if anyone in the valley could help him out. (3)
Her tweet quickly went viral and soon enough Casarez was getting offers from Google, Netflix, and LinkedIn. When asked how many job offers he received in total, he said “I would say it’s way more than 200 at this point. Lost track as my inbox has been flooded.” (2)
Remember the young homeless man in SF who put on a tie, stood on a street corner, and handed out resumes?
Hundreds of people offered help. Today, @DavidCasarez17 has a place to live, a job with his own desk, and is getting paid to do something he loves.
Be good. It spreads. pic.twitter.com/fwreK8x9qW
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) October 18, 2018
More Than Just a Story
This story offers hope and possibility for more than just the homeless and unemployed. There is something to be learned here even if you’re CEO of a business or own a beautiful home. For starters, we can follow Scofield’s example by reaching out to those who are in need whenever we can. Instead of turning a blind eye to this homeless man, Scofield stopped to hear his story. Then she found a way to use social media to help him out. All it takes is just a few moments to look outside yourself, listen, and lend a hand.
We can also learn to change the way we view a homeless man or woman. Too often people believe the homeless deserve their circumstances because of their own foolish choices. The homeless are often seen as drug addicts or alcoholics who ask for money as a way to fuel that addiction. As we can see in Casarez’s example, this isn’t always the case. Life is hard on all of us, and for some people that level of difficulty means losing a job, a family, or a home.
Casarez had the innovation and means to write up a resume, throw on a tie, and market himself in a way that caught our attention. But think of all the homeless men and woman who don’t have money for a nice suit, a stack of resumes, a workable skill set, or the courage to put themselves out there in the same way. The bottom line is, we don’t know their story. Our job is to simply reach out, show we care, and help in any way we can.
Lend a Hand to the Homeless
Scofield didn’t need to take a lot of time out of her day to post a picture on Twitter. In the same way, it doesn’t take a lot of time to toss a few dollars into a hat. Or to bring someone a sandwich. Or even to donate to homeless shelters and charitable organizations. And while it may seem that something so small couldn’t possibly make a difference, to a homeless man or woman going through a similar situation as Casarez, I’m sure it means the world.