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Owner Asks Homeless Man to Leave the Premises but He Keeps Coming Back - Finally, He Decides to Take a Different Approach
Homeless Man’s Life Is Completely Transformed With One Cup of Coffee
Uplifting News

Owner Asks Homeless Man to Leave the Premises but He Keeps Coming Back - Finally, He Decides to Take a Different Approach

What would your reaction be to finding a homeless man sleeping behind your business?

Unfortunately, many of us have a default reaction of skepticism or disregard to those we do not immediately understand. It is often too easy to judge others based on appearance, but one gym owner reminds us why an open mind is so important, and just how far a little compassion can carry others.

What One Man Did When He Saw a Homeless Man Asleep in His Car

homeless man asleep
Photo by Timur Weber

A few months ago, at the God Body gym in Memphis, Tennessee, owner Roderick Duncan noticed someone sleeping in one of his old cars behind the building.

"Homeless guy, had to have been," Duncan told a publication. Duncan initially approached the car with his cell phone camera out and ready to record the encounter, telling the stranger gruffly to get out of the vehicle.

He thought that was the end of the story, until the next day when he noticed the same individual, in the same spot. He again asked the stranger to leave, and he did. This continued night after night, developing into a routine for the two -- Duncan asking the man to leave his property night after night -- until he decided to try a different approach.

One night he had a change of heart. "Before I could knock on the [car] window, I said, 'You know what?' I came back in here and made him a cup of coffee," Duncan recalled.

What he brought to the young man was far more than a cup of coffee, but a change in mindset.

Duncan approached the individual with understanding and compassion this time, and watched as he turned from a nameless 'homeless man' into a young individual with a story as unique as anybody else's -- and just as deserving of kindness.

How One Cup of Coffee Led to a Beautiful Friendship

a cup of coffee
Photo by Esranur Kalay

The two shared a cup of coffee that one evening, and a relationship began to blossom. Duncan learned that the stranger was 24-year-old Bryan Taylor. He learned about Bryan's troubled childhood and struggles with alcohol, and more about his desire to change his circumstances.

Their relationship grew over conversations, and soon, Duncan was taking Bryan to get a new ID, new clothes, and driving him to job interviews. Bryan even went from crashing in old cars behind the gym to a couch in Duncan's home.

"Some people need more than one chance. It takes a while for most kids to stop bumping their head," Duncan admitted. 

However, Bryan's growth wasn't so simple. The duo have both admitted that their relationship came with its own turbulence, and required patience from both parties.

For example, Duncan set rules for the young man, and tried to help guide him back on the right path, but there were setbacks at times. Trust was violated, and regained -- built back stronger.

It turns out, that single cup of coffee, and change of mindset, paved the way for both men's lives to change.

How a Man Proved the Importance of Giving Others a Second Chance

For Bryan, the stability provided allowed him to begin taking steps in the right direction. With the trust of a mentor, and the confidence he instilled, he was able to search for jobs with a new fervor, and lean on someone for support in the process.

“I’m a changed person,” said Bryan. “I got a job. I got more confidence. I got a smile on my face.” 

As a gym owner and personal trainer, Duncan is used to helping people work towards their goals. However, his encounter with Bryan forced him to reassess his judgement, and shift his perspective in a positive direction.

What Duncan truly provided for the young man was belief. He instilled confidence in the young man, who still has a long life ahead of him. By reassessing his own implicit biases, and changing them, he had the ability to recognize that Bryan was not a threat, but just someone in need of some help -- as we all are at some point.

The relationship these two developed can remind us all to keep an open mind, and always lend a helping hand when we have the power to do so.

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