Felicia Dukes and her four children had been living in a homeless shelter – but now they have a cozy house all their own – thanks to a Los Angeles lawyer who has temporarily given up his residence to the family in need.
Tony Tolbert, 51, decided he wanted to give up his fully furnished home, rent-free for one year, to a struggling family. So he sought out Alexandria House, a homeless shelter for women and children, where he was connected with Dukes.
“You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or Oprah,” Tolbert, who has moved back into his parents’ house for the year, told CBS News. “We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have, and for me, I have a home that I can make available.”
Dukes, who was joined by her three daughters and son, tearfully tells CBS, “My heart just fills up and stuff I’m just really happy.”
Tolbert says his generous spirit comes from his father, an L.A. entertainment lawyer, who taught his son about the virtues of giving when he was growing up. Tolbert says his dad regularly lent out the family’s spare bedroom to someone in need.
“Kindness creates kindness; generosity creates generosity; love creates love,” Tolbert said, while emotionally addressing his dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease. “I think if we can share some of that and have more stories about people doing nice things for other people, and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that’s a better world.”
Tolbert’s ways are nothing new, according to his mom Marie, who says, “He’s so giving, and he’s always been that way.”
Know a hero? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more inspiring stories, read the latest issue of PEOPLE.
More Heroes Among Us: