I am very excited to let you know that there are still good people in this world (and we don’t need to hide away and live in caves because life is the worst).
Los Angeles-based lawyer Tony Tolbert just gave up his home for a year to a family in need. Why? He just wanted to.
How? He decided that he wanted to help a family in need, so he went to Alexandria House, a charity for homeless families, and asked them to help connect him to a family to stay in his fully furnished home, rent-free for a year. They chose single mother Felicia Dukes and her four children.
So, for the the next year, the Dukes clan will have a home to live in together (as the oldest son was separated from them since only four people can share a room in the shelter) and Mr. Tolbert will be crashing with his mom.
When I hear stories like this, I’m always stunned that someone could be so generous. I mean, the guy is giving up his entire house for a year for free to a family he doesn’t even know. That’s insane to me. I don’t let people I’m best friends with even sleep in my bed when they visit me overnight. I make them sleep on an air mattress in the other room and I somehow think that’s polite.
He told CBS News that “Kindness creates kindness. Generosity creates generosity. Love creates love,” he said. “And 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.”
I totally agree and this makes me realize that I should not be such a selfish curmudgeon.
Look, I always start the day with a song in my heart and the intention of helping people out, but then I walk out the door and ten minutes later, I’m crammed into a subway car feeling miserable because all the seats are taken and I hate mankind. There’s no way I can fathom being nice to anyone even though I know I should. I keep telling myself, “Well, I can barely make ends meet for myself. How am I supposed to help someone else?”
As Tolbert himself says, “You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or Oprah. We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have.”
Kindness and generosity aren’t just about material possessions. Not all of us have the means to give a home to someone else for any length of time and that’s totally okay. It’s not about the house or the money. I don’t think that’s why this story is inspiring or special.
See, I think the fact that one day Tony Tolbert just decided that it was in his means to help someone worse off than him and that he should do it is what’s really amazing. It wasn’t about guilt or fame or showing off. He just realized, “Hey, this is something I can offer, so I should.”
In each of our lives there are moments where we see that we can offer something of ourselves for another person’s ease or happiness, and we should strive to say “YES!” to those moments, rather than, “Ugh, no.”
Maybe we can save our leftovers after dinner and give them to someone in need. Maybe we can donate old coats or clothes we never wear to charity. Maybe we can give time or money to charities helping people in the wake of tragedy. Maybe we can just give someone a morning smile when everyone’s obviously feeling grumpy. Those things can all help someone else.
Tony Tolbert was lucky enough to have a home that he could offer and he did give it up for the Davis family. Everyone involved is lucky and blessed. Even if you only have your wild and beautiful and kind and creative spirit, you can still choose to share that with people to make their lives better.
Like Tolbert said, “Love creates love.”
So, let’s take this story as our own gift to go and spread some joy.