When a college student was grabbing a cup of coffee near campus, she couldn’t help but notice a man nearby. He was obviously homeless, so she decided to bless him with a hot meal. After handing him the food, he gave her a crumpled-up note with a message she couldn’t believe. It certainly wasn’t the thanks she expected.
Casey Fischer was grabbing her morning coffee from Dunkin Donuts near her college campus when she spotted a man nearby who was clearly homeless. She noticed him sitting on the side of the road, picking up any spare change he could find that others had dropped. Then, he strolled into the coffee shop, not knowing he had caught her eye.
As Casey watched the homeless man, who she’d later learn was named Chris, counting his change, she decided to attempt to talk to him. Little did the young college student realize, she was about to have an interaction with the stranger that would change both of their lives.
“I began to get super annoying and talked to him over and over again even when he didn’t really want to talk,” Casey recalled. “Since he had maybe $1 in change I bought him a coffee and bagel and asked him to sit down with me,” she continued, describing the moment she decided to bless the stranger with some warm food and a little company since it appeared he could clearly use it.
Putting aside her own plans for a moment, Casey sat down next to this needy man, who was all alone. The gesture seemed well-received as Chris joined Casey and the two got to know each other a little better over the small breakfast she had graciously provided. The stranger even began to open up, sharing his life story and admitting the mistakes he had made, which landed him in the position he was in.
“He told me a lot about how people are usually very mean to him because he’s homeless, how drugs turned him into the person he hated, he lost his mom to cancer, he never knew his dad and he just wants to be someone his mom would be proud of,” Casey wrote in a Facebook post, detailing over an hour’s worth of conversation she had with the “lovely” man named Chris.
“Chris was one of the most honest & sincere people I’ve ever met,” Casey continued, but sadly, their time together was drawing to an end. After blessing the gentleman with some food and giving him a little time and attention, Casey was about to get something in return. Chris was going to thank her in a way she’d never forget.
“After realizing I really need to get back to class, Chris asked me to wait so he can write something down for me,” Casey recalled. “Handing me a crumpled up receipt, he apologized for having shaky hand writing, smiled, and left,” she wrote alongside a photo of the wadded-up note her new friend had handed her.
Although Chris had seemingly opened up about his circumstances, Casey quickly realized there was something he didn’t have the heart to tell her until the two were about to part ways. Even then, he couldn’t say it in person. Instead, he had quickly jotted it down on the crumpled paper she opened after the two had said their goodbyes.
“I wanted to kill myself today, because of u I now do not. Thank u, beautiful person,” the note read. Although Casey was surprised by the words, she was also thankful that her simple act of kindness had literally saved a life. With her heart full, thanks to a perfect stranger and something as simple as coffee and a bagel, Casey took to social media to share the experience, where even more lives were changed.
The inspirational story was shared hundreds of thousands of times, touching countless people around the world. It reminded us that we truly never know what another person is going through or how close they may be to giving up. More importantly, it showed everyone how just a little grace and love can give another person a reason to live.
Chris had given up on life, thinking he had nobody and no reason to live until Casey Fischer came along and showed him the compassion he so desperately needed, diverting him from death all because she was in the right place at the right time and willing to make a difference in someone else’s day. Had their paths not crossed or had Casey chosen to ignore the needy man in front of her, Chris’s life could have ended.
If a brief moment and a simple act can completely change the course of someone’s life, imagine the difference each one of us can make by keeping our eyes and hearts open to the needs of others. Sometimes, all it takes is eye contact and a smile or, in this case, a cup of coffee and a conversation to be the answer to someone else’s prayers. Never underestimate the power of generosity no matter how small. After all, a $3 cup of coffee was the miracle one man needed to save his life.