"I think it’s so much of a good blessing, and it’s wonderful just to have people these days that’ll do things for you," said Kenneth Smith

By Joelle Goldstein
April 09, 2021 03:16 PM
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A homeless man in Texas has been given a chance to get back on his feet, all thanks to one kind stranger and the generosity of his community.

A few months ago, Kenneth Smith was homeless, hungry and unemployed — but that changed after a woman gave him a gift card outside of an Outback Steakhouse in Fort Worth, ABC affiliate WFAA reported.

Following the woman's kind actions, Smith ended up getting a job at the restaurant. He also received an outpouring of support from his community, who have generously covered a hotel room for him for the last six weeks, according to the outlet.

"I think it's so much of a good blessing," Smith told WFAA. "It's wonderful just to have people these days that'll do things for you."

Though he didn't know it then, Smith said his situation changed a few months ago while he was sitting outside of the Outback and was approached by a woman leaving the restaurant.

"She asked me was I alright, so I told her, 'No, I'm not okay at this time,'" Smith recalled to WFAA.

Wanting to help, the woman purchased a $100 gift card for Smith so he could buy himself dinner, according to the outlet.

"After I got through eating... I was big and full," Smith explained to WFAA, adding that during his meal, he started talking to Outback's managing partner, Laura Hodges.

During their conversation, Smith disclosed how the woman had just helped him — so Hodges decided to run with it and do more.

"I said, 'Hey, I don't ever want you to want for food or go hungry,'" Hodges recalled to WFAA. "'I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here's my business card. Bring it anytime.'"

Smith ended up returning for meals on and off for nearly five months before he asked for a job at the restaurant, according to the outlet.

Hodges agreed, and gave Smith a job bussing tables and cleaning up — a gig he's been working over the past month, WFAA reported.

"I sometimes walk out them doors and glance at the chairs," Smith told the outlet. "I be like, 'Man, I used to sit in those chairs.'"

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But while Smith had a job, he didn't have a roof over his head — so Hodges took action.

On April 3, she posted on the Fort Worth Foodie Facebook group, explaining Smith's situation and asking if anyone knew of a motel nearby that cost less than $60 per night.

Instead of motel recommendations, Hodges' post was flooded with comments from community members offering to donate money or pay for Smith's stay.

Along with paying for a room at a nearby Extended Stay hotel for the last six weeks, strangers in the area have also donated more than $2,200, a bike, clothing, kitchen items and groceries to Smith, WFAA reported.

"I had absolutely no idea that people were going to latch onto that," Hodges told the outlet of the response. "All they wanted to do was throw assistance out there and resources in any way that they possibly could."

With a roof now over his head, Smith told WFAA he's saving up money to purchase a car and, eventually, a home. He also has plans to open his own food service business one day, the outlet reported.

As he reflects on his good fortune, Smith said he is forever grateful to the woman who kickstarted his second chance by providing him with that generous gift card.

"This is a whole new beginning that God has blessed me with, so I'm trying to get on this right good track that he wants me to stay on," Smith told WFAA. "God is good. If he can do it for me, he can do it for anybody else."

As for Hodges, she couldn't agree more.

"We wish we could find her and know who she was because she blessed both of our lives. This has been a great thing for both of us," she shared with the outlet. "I'm blown away by the generosity of people. It's absolutely amazing."