The homeless man was refused even the slightest kindness by waitstaff, so one customer decided to set an example of kindness.

*Featured image contains photos by Timur Weber

Homelessness is not rare. It exists in all major cities — unhoused people on street corners looking for something to eat, or a little bit of money to get shelter for the night.

A woman in Texas recently came face-to-face with this reality when she met an unhoused man looking for water. Instead of shying away and minding her own business, she decided to sit down with the homeless man for a meal. 

Why One Homeless Man Was Turned Away From a Restaurant

depressed homeless man
Photo by MART PRODUCTION

A homeless man was passing by the entrance of a buffet restaurant when he decided to take a chance and ask the workers there for something to drink. The heat in Texas was getting to the man, and he needed a glass of water to cool down and quench his thirst.

Cruelly, the server he asked shooed him away, telling him he would have to pay for water. The dejected man left the restaurant, still thirsty, and went on his way. A nearby customer overheard the exchange and was heartbroken. 

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Esmene Bongais-Navarro, a Texan who was born in the Philippines, frequently works with the homeless. She drives to Houston on a weekly basis with pizzas for the unhoused population there. She happened to be eating at the buffet when she saw the man being turned away, and she decided right then and there to do something about it.

How One Woman Proved the Importance of Helping Others

She followed the man out of the restaurant and invited him to sit down and eat with her. The man gratefully accepted her invitation. Esmene and the man walked back into the restaurant together, where a server immediately approached them and tried asking the man to leave again. Esmene shut the waiter down, explaining that the man was her guest and she was a paying customer. 

The man excitedly ordered an orange juice as soon as he sat down. He finished it quickly and followed it up with lemonade. Once his thirst was finally quenched, he approached the buffet, overwhelmed by the piles of steaming food.

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He loaded his plate, sat back down, and savored every bite. He had approached the restaurant hoping only to get a bit of water, but had ended up with a full belly and a full heart.

The meal she shared with the homeless man in Texas is one of Esmene’s most treasured memories. She is aware that there are millions of hungry people struggling every day, and it brings her life purpose to help whenever she has the opportunity.

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