Principal Helps Homeless Man Find Food at a Best Buy – But Breaks Down When He Hears His Story
One principal couldn’t just leave a hungry man outside of a Best Buy. Turns out, he was the answer to this man’s prayers.
Sometimes you never know when you’re going to come across someone in need of help. But as John Brantley knows all too well, the decision to actually stop and offer assistance can have a huge impact on both yours and on a stranger’s day.
Back in 2015, Brantley — a school principal at the time — was at a Best Buy when he noticed a homeless man digging through the trash looking for scraps of food. The man was pulling out fast food bags and looking inside for stray fries or leftover bites of hamburgers. When he finished, he cleaned everything up and wrapped up the food he found in a dirty hamburger wrapper.
I’ve [never] seen someone actually go through a garbage can to try to find food to eat.John Brantley
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“He never bothered anyone or tried to stop and beg for money as people entered and left the store,” Brantley later wrote in a Facebook post. “My heart literally hurt for him. I am not someone who just hands out money or even helps homeless people because so many are not truly homeless. I guess I’ve [never] seen someone actually go through a garbage can to try to find food to eat.”
Brantley felt motivated to help, so he got out of his car and asked the man, who said his name was Steve, whether he could buy him something to eat. “He told me he would appreciate anything I could get him,” Brantley added.
So he went to the fast food place around the corner and grabbed Steve the biggest meal on the menu. He also purchased a big glass of sweet tea to go with the meal — Steve’s only request.
How an Unexpected Story Brought Two Men to Tears Outside Best Buy
When Brantley brought Steve the food, he was incredibly thankful and opened up a bit about his life. It turned out he had been homeless for about a year, ever since his sister died. He was trying to get off the streets, but change can be hard and it had been a rough journey.
“I told him God loved him and I would pray for him,” Brantley added. “He told me again how much he appreciated the meal.”
When Brantley got back to his car, his heart felt heavy. He felt as though he needed to do more for Steve. So he turned around and went back to the parking lot just as Steve was finishing his meal and getting ready to ride his bike away.
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“I pulled up beside him and asked him if there was any way I could help him. He told me not really. He never asked me for money,” Brantley wrote. “I asked him if I could buy him a few meals and put it on a gift card for him. He told me that would be so kind. I drove to McDonald’s and bought him some meals and gave him a gift card.”
When Brantley returned, Steve broke down crying. He explained how he really needed someone like Brantley to help him out that day and even manifested it. “I prayed that God would send someone to buy me a hot meal today… and he sent you!” Steve told Brantley.
Why One Homeless Man Thought of a Principal as an Answer to a Prayer
“That’s not a prayer I’ve ever prayed!” Brantley mused. “I always pray over my food, but I’ve never prayed for a meal… it’s expected! I’ve never doubted that I wouldn’t be able to eat…”
Tears filled Brantley’s eyes as he realized perhaps God had sent them to each other. He was answering Steve’s prayers, but perhaps his lesson in all of this was to learn and see how blessed he was and what he had previously taken for granted.
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From there, Steve opened up even more and revealed he had cancer. “He pulled up his shirt and pointed to a huge mass that was poking out from his stomach,” Brantley recalled. “He said he knew it wouldn’t be much longer… He told me he knew he was going to die and that he was ready to die. He was tired of being in pain and he would be better off dead because this was no life, living this way.”
I’ve never felt such a feeling to help someone as I did today. I was reminded again of how blessed I am.John Brantley
Brantley stayed and prayed with Steve for a few more minutes and continued to pray for him after he left. “I knew I had done what God wanted me to do,” he wrote. “God put him in my path today… I know he did! I’ve never felt such a feeling to help someone as I did today. I was reminded again of how blessed I am! I have a vehicle that gets me from place to place, I have a roof over my head, clean clothes, money to buy a hot meal, running water, electricity, my health, a job, family, and friends! Sometimes God sends situations our way to remind us of how blessed we are! If you’ve read this far, please remember Steve in your prayers!”
Why It’s Important to Always Be Thankful for What We Have
After that fateful day, Brantley tried to further help Steve by starting a GoFundMe page and getting the man the medical attention he needed. Unfortunately, when Brantley met with Steve to make plans on setting up that help, Steve admitted he didn’t have cancer and had lied.
“He stated he WOULD NOT be able to live with himself knowing he took money from so many good people,” Brantley wrote in a Facebook update. “He asked that we please forgive him and pray for him. I have spoken to the admin of GoFundMe and ALL refunds will be issued back in 2-5 business days. I want to personally thank everyone that has played a part in helping Steve. Please continue to remember him in your prayers. He is still homeless and needs help…”
He is still homeless and needs help…– John Brantley
Some may see this as a sad twist to an otherwise heartwarming story about hope and giving back. However, at the end of the day, no one really knows what Steve’s medical condition is. He could have been lying, or he could have been lying about making the story up because he didn’t want to accept that kind of money from people. Whatever his motivations, that day he needed help and he found that help in Brantley.
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You never know what a person is going through in order to bring them to their current circumstances, but we all have basic needs. Whether you buy someone in need a hot meal, gift them with a certificate for one the next time they’re hungry, volunteer at a shelter, donate to a food bank or start a GoFundMe page for someone you know in need, it still feels good to give back.
Brantley and his actions and words also remind us to be thankful for what we do have in our lives. Sure, maybe we wish we had a house, a better car, the dream partner… but if we’ve got a roof over our heads, people to love, and a warm meal to dig into at the end of the day, we’re probably doing better than we think.
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