GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - While many will spend the next few days giving thanks, one local business man recently took the opportunity to give someone a chance.
Suriya Davenport spotted Chadd Long just off the Ann Street ramp in Grand Rapids. Long was holding a sign that said veteran, hungry homeless, will work, anything will help.
Davenport decided to put that 'will work' mentality to a test.
"I was pulling off the on-ramp on Ann Street heading north, where it curved around right in front of the Riverfront Hotel," that curve led Davenport to Chadd Long, holding a sign. "What struck me and got my attention was the fact that he said he was willing to work. So I had 25 seconds, sitting there, pondering, well you know what I'm going to test him," Davenport added. "[I] roll my window down say, 'Hey you want to work?' He's like yes. So he got his backpack and jumped into my truck."
With no hesitation, Long got to work.
"He went to one of our lawn accounts and blew the leaves," Davenport said "He worked hard and I was really impressed with that."
An impression, that truly stuck with Davenport. It was no long ago, when he himself, hit rock bottom.
"I was depressed, car-less, homeless, at one point in time I had four kids under five years old," Davenport said. He says if it wasn't for the grace of a few people, he would not be an owner of multiple businesses, and have the opportunity to give someone a shot.
"It mean more than someone just giving me a dollar," Chadd Long said. "Because I would much rather work for someone than be given something, that's why I'm still where I'm at."
Chadd Long knows he's not perfect. The Army vet is battling his addictions but he says Davenport's opportunity, made him believe, there are still good people out there.
"It was really amazing, he's a great guy and I'd do anything for him at anytime," Long said.
"I'm the type of person that really believes that bad circumstances can happen to good people, none of us are immune to it. I'm a living testimony of that. Sometimes you need to give a person a chance," Davenport added.
Davenport posted his encounter with Long on Facebook and it has since received more than 2,000 likes and hundreds of shares. Davenport says there is no doubt he will be hiring Long for another job again. Long is still homeless but he hopes to land a steady job and change that soon.
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