When Marcus walked into her Minneapolis, Minnesota restaurant one March day seeking food, Cesia Abigail Baires, 25, could have turned him away. She could have been dismissive. She could have put the interaction out of her mind completely and moved on with her life. Instead – perhaps because she had seen him panhandling in the past – something compelled her to learn more about him. Upon asking him why he didn’t work, she said that he responded: “Well, I have a lot of felonies and no one wants to hire me for that, so now I had to turn myself to the streets and get money the only way I know: stealing and asking for money.”
Her Salvadoran restaurant was going through tough times, but Abi’s Cafe was short-staffed that day. So she asked Marcus to fill in as a dishwasher, but she could only offer him two hours of work. Before he began his short shift, she gave him a sandwich. Marcus immediately took half of his sandwich, wrapped it up in foil, and gave it to a homeless woman on the street. “I said, ‘Marcus do you know the lady over there?’ and he said ‘No, but I know that she is hungry so I gave her my food,’” she told ABC News. Marcus became homeless at 16.
Working with Marcus has enriched her life, she insists. “He has been a blessing for me,” she said, “I don’t see it as me being a blessing to him. I see it as me being blessed, so I can bless him, so he can bless me.”
On March 25, Cesia shared the story online. At that point, Marcus had consistently come in for two weeks for his two-hour shifts. “Once I pay him, guess what he does?” she wrote on Facebook. “He buys food from my restaurant (he decides to pay) because it makes him feel good! He gets a discount!”
Nine months later – after talking about her new friendship to the media and creating a GoFundMe on his behalf – this story’s once again gaining traction. On Abi’s Cafe’s Facebook page, Cesia said that even celebrities are now talking about this moment. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have time to do a follow-up story, but she briefly let people know that things are looking up for Marcus. “Marcus is no longer working for me as he found something more fitting for him, but he still comes around to talk or help me out as he is very thankful for the chance that was given,” she wrote. “I appreciate all of your words and wishes for my business, myself, and Marcus. Go and give someone a much-needed chance today. You could change a life, too! And after, come and try our delicious pupusas!”
Check out more about this burgeoning friendship below: