A Marin City, California, man is getting praise for helping a homeless man get back on his feet, and it all started with lunch.
Adam August wrote a response on question-and-answer site Quora explaining how his friendship with a homeless man named Tarec Atkinson began.
"I’ve seen this guy at a Starbucks in Marin City several times," August, 28, wrote. "Every time I’d see him him I’d tell myself that I would take him to lunch but always found an excuse not to."
WABC reported that August invited Atkinson, 37, to have lunch with him one day in July. Over lunch, he learned Atkinson was born in Jamaica. He moved to the U.S. eight years ago, and for the past year he’s lived in a tent by the highway.
"Tarec goes days without eating, sometimes living off of the berries he picks, he spends 90 percent of his time alone and has no friends and no family in the states," wrote August.
He found out the that Atkinson hadn’t had a proper shower in a month, so August brought him to his apartment to get cleaned up. At the end of their time together, August offered to drive Atkinson around to local businesses to apply for a job.
Later that week, the two went shopping for new clothes for Atkinson. August said he looked like a totally different person in his shirt and slacks.
"I was blown away at the immediate change in his demeanor. His smile was radiant, he stood up straighter and even walked with a swagger," wrote August.
After shopping, they visited several businesses but quickly learned most of them asked for online applications. So August took Atkinson to their local library.
"And let me tell you something," wrote August. "We take our computer literacy for granted. Watching him struggle to fill out an application put so much into perspective for me… I saw firsthand how the ‘system’ is set up to fail people like Tarec. There is no way he would have been able to do any of this without my help."
August said after a week of phone interviews, he drove Atkinson to Safeway, a grocery store, for an in-person interview.
"I dropped him off, wished him luck and waited. Twenty minutes later, I see him walk out of Safeway with a big smile and a thumbs up."
They celebrated Atkinson’s accomplishment with ice cream, but August told WABC that things fell through.
According to WABC, August lost touch with Atkinson and during that time, Atkinson lost his job.
"Holding a job when you sleep in a tent and can't shower every day isn't a recipe for success," August said. "I didn't appreciate that fact a few months ago. I do now."
August hopes others are inspired by Atkinson's story.
"We all need help in one way or another. Sometimes all someone needs is a friend," wrote August.
August set up a GoFundMe page Thursday to raise money to help Atkinson get back on his feet in response to people reaching out and wanting to help. More than $5,000 has been raised toward its $25,000 goal.
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