For many people, their weekly trip to the grocery store is an uneventful chore they add to their to-do list. They simply head to their nearest store, pick up their groceries, and try to get back home as quickly as they can. And that was also the case for Matt White, a 30-year-old guy from Memphis, Tennessee. But that all changed one day when he was approached by a young man who asked him a question that stopped him in his tracks. What happened next changed the course of both their lives.
The Man Himself
To truly understand the magic of this incredible story, we need to learn a little more about one of the men himself. Who is Matt White? With a job in the music industry and middle-class parents, Matt knew he was fairly privileged. He had a roof over his head, he had more than enough money to stock up his refrigerator every week, and he even had some leftovers to enjoy restaurants and a social life.
On the day that his life changed forever, Matt was just shopping for groceries at a Kroger in a nicer part of a poor Memphis neighborhood. After he had paid, he started making his way out of the store.
Sadness in His Eyes
But before Matt could step out of the grocery store, he was approached by a young man. Matt could see that he was just a young teenager and that he appeared to be upset for some reason. At first, Matt was a little suspicious - especially when the teenager made eye contact with him. It wasn't unusual for him to be approached by beggars in this part of town, so he wondered if the young man was one of them.
But the more Matt looked into the young boy's eyes, the more he could see that there was a mix of kindness and sadness in them. That's why he felt compelled to stop when he was asked a question.
Chauncy Was Asking for Help
Before he asked his question, the young man felt that it was only polite to introduce himself. He explained that he was called Chauncy Jones Black and that he was just 16 years old. He also told Matt that he had traveled by bus from his home to the nicer neighborhood in the hopes that he would be able to find someone to help him. But he didn't ask for money.
Instead, Chauncy asked Matt whether he knew anyone who would allow him to work in exchange for food. He didn't have long before he needed to get the bus back home, but he was willing to do anything.
He Was Desperate for Food
As Matt looked at the young man before him, he saw obvious signs of distress. Not only did he look broken and sad, but he also looked severely underweight. As Matt continued to look at the young man and listen to his pleas, he realized that the teenager was far removed from the beggars who simply asked for loose change. Chauncy wanted to work and didn't want to get anything for free.
As Matt thought of how he could help, Chauncy suggested something. Perhaps he could carry Matt's groceries to his car for a box of donuts in return? He thought this was a fair exchange, so he agreed.
Telling His Story
At that moment, Matt was struck by a feeling that hit him right in the heart. He suddenly realized just how privileged and lucky he was to have his life and a job that could pay his bills and put food on the table. That's why he decided to ask Chauncy more about his own life and how he had managed to find himself in a situation where he was asking for a simple box of donuts.
It was then that Matt learned that Chauncy's parents weren't around and that he and his six siblings lived in a tiny house with their grandmother. He also explained that they were struggling immensely for money.
Wanting to Do More
Matt was impressed by the young man's can-do attitude, as he knew it would have been so easy for him to simply ask for money and not offer anything in return. But the fact that he was willing to put in the work struck a chord with Matt, and so he had no problem with buying Chauncy a box of donuts for his hard work. However, he also felt as though he wanted to do more.
Matt was someone who believed in kindness and believed that you should always treat people the way you would want to be treated. That's why he decided to do something that took Chauncy completely off-guard.
Going the Extra Mile
As Matt considered Chauncy's story, he knew that he couldn't let the young man go back to his grandmother and six siblings with just a box of donuts in his hand. So, he decided to take him around the grocery store, filling the shopping cart with all of the essentials his family would need. He picked up milk, bread, cereal, toothbrushes, and necessities that he knew the young man and his siblings didn't have at their disposal.
When Chauncy realized what Matt was doing for him, he couldn't believe it. He couldn't thank the man enough for his kindness, and he was so excited to go back and show his family. But Matt wasn't finished with him yet.
There Was Even More to Chauncy's Story
As Matt took Chauncy around the grocery store, they continued their conversations and learned more about each other. And it was during this conversation that Matt asked Chauncy about his schoolwork and his grandmother. In fact, he was shocked to learn that, despite his hardships, Chauncy was excelling in school and was a grade-A student at the top of his class. At the same time, he was also looking after his grandmother and his siblings.
Chauncy tried to help out his grandmother as much as he could by doing jobs for locals around the neighborhood, but he struggled due to the fact that he didn't have any tools or money at his disposal.
His Goals in Life
As they continued their conversation, Matt struggled to come to terms with the reality of Chauncy's situation. He was so young, yet he was going through so much while still trying to be an upstanding citizen and student. While it hurt him to hear Chauncy refer to himself as "poor," it broke Matt's heart even more when he learned what Chauncy was aiming towards and what career he wanted when he grew up.
Chauncy stated that he wanted to become a rich businessman who could dedicate his time and money to helping others who were struggling in his community. He knew how hard it was to not have food in the refrigerator, and he didn't want others to struggle, either.
Matt Offered to Drive Chauncy Home
When they'd finished making the rounds of the grocery store and Matt and Chauncy had finished their grocery shopping, the young man confessed that he needed to leave as he needed to catch the last bus home. But it was already dark, and Chauncy had so many groceries to carry - so Matt was comfortable with the young man traveling on a bus by himself. So, he made him another offer.
Matt offered to drive Chauncy back to his house, and the young man reluctantly agreed. Matt had already done so much to help him, but he appreciated the helping hand.
Their House Was Practically Empty
Although Matt was prepared to see a smaller house than the one that he lived in, he was shocked by what he saw when he arrived at Chauncy's house. He soon realized that Chauncy hadn't been exaggerating when he said that his family had been struggling and that they had no food in the refrigerator. Within seconds, Matt could see with his own eyes that he was telling the truth.
All in all, he stated that his trip to Chauncy's house was a "humbling" experience, as he saw that he was living in such dire poverty. And this broke Matt's heart even more.
Meeting His Grandma
Perhaps the worst part of the whole experience for Matt, though, was seeing Chauncy's grandma in the flesh. Although Chauncy had spoken a lot about his grandmother, Barbara Black, he had failed to tell Matt that she wasn't well. And when Matt saw for himself that Barbara had a disorder that left her shaking uncontrollably, his heart broke even more for the young boy and his family. They were struggling so much.
If anything, this made him appreciate Chauncy even more. His grandmother and his siblings relied on him for so much, and he could see that Chauncy was a young man filled with kindness despite everything he was going through.
Like a Little Kid
As Matt took in his surroundings and learned more about Chauncy and his family, the more he realized that he had done the right thing by helping them out. Seeing Chauncy beam with excitement when he unpacked the groceries and showed them to his grandmother and his siblings was something that money just couldn't buy. Chauncy looked like a little kid, and his overwhelming sense of happiness was infectious.
After a short while, Matt decided to let Chauncy and his family have time to enjoy this newfound sense of happiness. And as he hugged them goodbye, he had no idea that he'd see them again sooner than he thought.
Matt Wanted to Learn More About Them
When Matt returned home, he assumed that he would simply get on with his life and think nothing more of the young man who had asked for a box of donuts. But for some reason, he just couldn't get Chauncy and his family out of his mind. They had made a big impression on him, which is why he decided to do some research. He wanted to learn more about them.
As he did this research, he learned that the family was barely getting by on Barbara's disability checks. They were living in deep poverty, and he knew that his moment of kindness was just a drop in the ocean of what they really needed.
Asking Others for Help
Although Matt had enough money to afford his rent and groceries, he knew that his comfortable salary wouldn't be enough to change Chauncy's life for the long term. So, he knew that he would need to ask for help if he really wanted to make an impact. To do this, he decided to write about his experience with Chauncy on Facebook, explaining how they met, more about his life and his family, and what his hopes were.
Chauncy's story sparked a flame inside Matt, and he just prayed to God that he had done the story justice so that others would be inspired to help him out.
Getting Noticed on GoFundMe
Thankfully, his wish came true, and it didn't take long for Matt's Facebook post to build momentum. Other people were just as taken by the story as he was, and it seemed as though they all wanted to come together to find a way to help the Black family. Ultimately, he decided that the best course of action would be to start a GoFundMe collection pot for people to contribute towards.
To help plead his case and garner even more donations, he even filmed a video with Chauncy, where the young man explained a little more about his life and his own dreams for the future.
A Plan of Action for the Donations
It didn't take long for the donations to start pouring in, and Matt was over the moon. He had always hoped that Chauncy's kindness and drive would pay off - and now the money was piling up in the GoFundMe collection pot. And when Chauncy heard the news, he couldn't believe it. But he was also a little concerned. He had never had so much money before, so how would he spend it?
In the end, it was Matt who came up with the perfect idea. Instead of giving the Black family a lump sum of money, he wanted to raise enough to buy Chauncy his very own lawnmower so he could continue making money himself around the community.
Although Matt was overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity from his friends and followers, his Facebook post continued to gain traction. Before too long, complete strangers he had never met before were donating to Chauncy's GoFundMe, and the numbers in the fund just kept rising and rising. Soon enough, he realized that maybe he could offer Chauncy and his family so much more than just a brand-new lawnmower.
Matt started dreaming of the possibility of paying for Chauncy to go to college or paying for the whole family to move into a new house that was big enough for all of them. But would it happen?
The Final Total
After his fundraising campaign took off, Matt saw the total rise every single day. Eventually, he knew there would come a time when he would have to shut it down and stop asking for donations - and he was over the moon to discover that, all in all, he had raised a whopping $340,000 for Chauncy and the Black family. He couldn't believe it, and he was so happy to have been a part of their story.
More than anything, Barbara couldn't believe what had happened. She had survived so much of her life on disability checks that to have money of her own was a true blessing.
Over the course of the fundraising initiative, Matt's generous plan had morphed into a movement that he and his followers called "Chauncy's Chance." And with such an impressive name behind it, it didn't take long for this initiative to be noticed by the national and international press. In fact, within just a few weeks, Chauncy and Matt had been interviewed by the likes of the Daily Mail, ABC News, and People magazine.
Chauncy was overwhelmed by the whole experience but stayed humble throughout. He noted that his life had been changed by Matt's kindness and that his new life was all thanks to Matt's generosity.
The Price of Fame
In a way, Chauncy and Matt had become famous. And while they appreciated the attention and the opportunity to share their story, Chauncy soon realized that fame also came with a price. After all, the media attention brought light to the fact that Chauncy and the Black family had come into money - and this put a target on their back. Before too long, others in the neighborhood were asking them for money.
When news of the fundraising made its way out of the woodwork, Barbara Black was even contacted by long-lost family members who felt as though they were entitled to share their new sense of wealth.
Being Sensible With the Money
Of course, Barbara and Chauncy wanted to help those who really needed help - but they didn't want people to take advantage of them. And after speaking to Matt, they decided that they needed to be sensible with their money. He put them in contact with a family attorney, who would give them tips on how best to spend their money, as well as the best way to keep their money safe.
As a result, they ultimately decided to put the money into a trust to ensure that it was kept in their possession and that they didn't become a target of theft.
A Religious Man
Of course, this life-changing situation would have never been possible without Matt and his kindness. But while many people praise him for helping Chauncy, others couldn't help but wonder why a complete stranger would do such a thing. Well, he puts it all down to his Christian faith. As a religious man, he believes it is his duty to spread kindness and help those who are less fortunate than him.
In fact, Matt thinks that it was God who put him on the path of helping the Black family. But he also knew that God had a bigger plan for him and the Black family.
Chauncy knew that God had put him on the path of helping Chauncy and his family for a reason, but he knew that reason didn't stop there. He wanted to use the opportunity to propel himself forward, use his kindness to help even more people, and urge others to follow in the same footsteps. After all, there are so many people who are struggling - and so many people who have the tools to help them.
More than anything, Matt doesn't want people to see him as a saint. In his eyes, he was just being a human being and was focusing on spreading kindness. Everything else just fell into place.
However, the Black family won't ever see Matt as just a normal human. To them, he changed their lives in ways they could have never imagined, and they can't thank him enough for his kindness. But more than anything, they wanted to thank Matt for giving them a chance. So many people would have ignored Chauncy if they had been in the grocery store that day, but Matt had decided to look past common misconceptions.
In an interview, Barbara Black even confessed that she considered Matt to be part of her family. She will never forget him for his kindness, and she hopes that they'll be friends forever.
Not the First Time
What's so amazing about Matt, however, is the fact that this wasn't the first time he decided to put kindness first. By looking at his social media profiles, it's clear to see that he's a charity man through and through. In the past, he's helped everyone from children to the elderly, and he's always put the needs of others before his own. But he never posts about these things online for the glory.
In his eyes, everything is about raising awareness for those less fortunate. And if he has the tools to do that, why wouldn't he share them for the world to see?
His Previous Campaign
Although Chauncy didn't realize it when he walked up to a stranger and asked for help, Matt was the perfect person to offer guidance and raise money for his family. After all, it wasn't the first time he had organized a GoFundMe campaign for someone less fortunate. He had done the same thing a few years prior for a blind bottle collector he had met while he was walking the streets of Memphis.
This man was called JB Kibbler - and as he was blind and poor, the only way he could provide for his family was to exchange the bottles he found for money. After an impressive campaign, Matt raised $36,000 for him.
It's safe to say that Memphis is lucky to have a man like Matt living in the city. Especially as it's one of the worst-affected cities in the United States in terms of poverty. You can't walk down the street without seeing homeless people, and the African-American community is the one that is most affected by below-standard living conditions. And it seems as though there are so many different reasons as to why this city suffers more than others.
According to Dr. Elena Delavega, who wrote a report on poverty in Memphis, the city struggles due to its lack of public transportation and a low minimum wage that doesn't cover the cost of living.
They Get Worse
However, the statistics don't get any better. Her report claimed that a whopping 44.7% of children in Memphis live in poverty. This is a staggering statistic, meaning that almost every one of the two kids you see walking the streets is living below the bread line. This means that they are almost always hungry, and their education suffers, and it could even mean that they resort to a life of crime.
But it seems as though Matt had a hunch about Chauncy. He sensed a passion and a determination in the young boy's eyes, and he knew that he simply needed a little push to get where he needed to be.
Another Person Helped
All in all, Matt put together an impressive campaign that changed not only the life of Chauncy but also the lives of his grandmother and his six siblings. And he puts a lot of that success down to the ease of using platforms such as GoFundMe. By using this, he was able to raise funding from those close to him, as well as others who live halfway across the world.
However, Matt isn't the only one to change someone's life after a chance encounter at the grocery store. This next story proves that buying groceries can be a whirlwind experience, too.
Introducing Trevor Phelps
One day, 41-year-old Trevor Phelps decided to help an elderly woman in the grocery store - but when he was picked up by security a few days later and confronted by the same woman, he didn't understand what was going on. After all, he was only trying to help! But he just assumed that everyone saw him as a homeless man. And that's what he was, but he didn't ask for his life to go that way.
He had found himself on the streets after Hurricane Harvey destroyed his livelihood. He not only lost his home in the disaster, but he also lost his wife, who was in the house at the time.
Life on the Streets
After losing everything, Trevor spiraled into a deep depression that later cost him his job. Before he knew it, he was living life on the streets and drowning his sorrows in liquor. But after a while, he found solace in religion. Although he was still living on the streets, he felt as though God was pushing him in the direction of helping others. That's exactly why he decided to help the elderly woman.
As he saw the elderly woman struggle with her bags at the grocery store, he felt compelled to help her. He didn't want any money for it, though. He just wanted to help someone in need.
As the elderly woman and Trevor walked side by side, they struck up a conversation. They were good company for each other, and the woman even offered the man a cup of coffee to thank him for his services. However, he refused and stated that he must get going. But when he got home, Trevor realized that there had been a mistake. As he had tried to help the woman, they had mixed up their grocery bags - and Trevor had accidentally taken the woman's.
Although he wanted to return her groceries, he was also extremely hungry. And when he spotted small chocolate cakes in the bag, he decided to take one and eat it. But he had no idea that this decision would come back to bite him.
Taking Him Back
The next morning, he awoke on the streets to find a security guard hovering over him. He barked that he would need to follow him back to the grocery store, and Trevor knew that he was in trouble. This thought was heightened even further when he walked back into the grocery store and was brought face-to-face with the woman he had helped the day before. Did she think he was a thief?
As the woman looked at him with disappointment and hurt on her face, his heart broke. He had never meant for it to happen, but he still felt so guilty.
Taken by Surprise
But what happened next took Trevor by surprise. When he admitted to being so hungry he ate one of her cakes, the woman started crying. She wasn't upset with him - she was upset for him. She said that Trevor reminded her of one of her children and that she could see that he wasn't a bad man. Then, she wanted to hear Trevor's story, and she wanted to know how he came to live on the streets.
When the woman heard his story, she knew she needed to help. So, she offered him a job at the grocery store and even a place to live! It was truly a miracle.