One stranger’s small kindness was a homeless man’s ticket to a brand new life. 

The hot Texas heat had nothing on Kenneth Smith’s rough life. The 50-year-old Fort Worth resident was evicted from his apartment. Homeless for 4 years, he got by through panhandling. During those tough times, however, he remembered his grandmother’s words.

“My grandmother used to tell me that life is not always going to go according to how you want it to be. She said that life is good, but it can also be tart at times.”

Little did he know it was during one of those tart times that Smith would find out how good life can be.

How a Homeless Man’s Life Was Changed by an Act of Kindness

Smith had fallen asleep outside an Outback restaurant when a tap on the shoulder woke him up. It was a stranger asking if he was okay. When Smith said that he was starving but okay, the stranger told him to wait there as she went inside the restaurant. 

The stranger came back out and gave Smith a $100 gift card, telling him to go inside to have a meal. While eating, Smith struck up small talk with Outback’s managing partner, Laura Hodges. Smith shared how a woman had just helped him. 

Wanting to keep it going, Hodges gave Smith an open invite.

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“I said, ‘Hey, I don’t ever want you to want for food or go hungry,’” Hodges said. “I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here’s my business card. Bring it anytime.”

As the two got closer, Smith said that it was hard finding work. He offered to do any odd jobs at the restaurant for money. Instead, Hodges went a step further and offered him a full-time job bussing. 

Smith was through the moon. “I was so happy. I couldn’t believe it,” Smith recalled. “I feel good knowing that I have a job, knowing that I can smile, knowing that I can do good things.”

This would already make a great ending to a story. But this steak was just starting to sizzle.

How a Community Stepped in to Help a Homeless Man

Hodges took to A ‘Fort Worth Foodie’ Facebook page, sharing Smith’s story and asking if anyone knew of a motel that cost less than $60 a night. 

You can call the response…well done. 

Donations poured in, including more than $2,200, a bike, clothing, kitchen items and groceries. Smith was floored.

“I think it’s so much of a good blessing, and it’s wonderful just to have people these days that’ll do things for you,” he told PEOPLE.

How One Stranger Proved That Kindness Changes Lives

With a stable home, Smith is saving up for a car and, down the road, a home. He’s even cooking up the idea of having his own food service business.

And to think, it all started with one generous stranger. 

Among kindness quotes, one reads, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” How amazing it is that one stranger who stopped their day to help someone has totally changed their world.

Almost through magic, Kenneth Smith can plan a life he never dreamed of. Indeed, there’s a magic to kindness that can’t be bought, sold, seen or touched. Yet, it’s all at the tip of our fingertips.