Cry For Attention
Most people did not even notice him. He needed strength to get through the day. He prayed to whatever god would listen to him.
He turned around and saw a strange man watching him. He had an intense stare and it made him feel uncomfortable. He saw tears streaming down the man’s face. When the man realized he saw that, he turned away.
Chauncy Jones did not live a lavish life. The 16-year-old lived with his mother in a low-income area in Tennessee. This day was just as difficult as the ones before them.
Jones faced various adversities in his day-to-day life. Growing up in poverty had taught him to always think on his feet, otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to survive. This day was no exception.
This day started like all of his other days, but the outcome would not be like the rest. Jones was disheartened and embarrassed as he remembered how he used to spend his hour waiting for the school bus home.
He stated that he would ride the bus to what he would call the “rich people’s Kroger.” He did all this so that he could earn money to put food on the table for his mother.
Mother And Son
Jones might have had a difficult life, but there was no doubt that his mother loved him. He cared for her deeply, and he was constantly worried about her well-being.
She had been diagnosed with a disease that prevented her from going to work. Any money she received from the disability office went straight to their rent. His mother was struggling to keep her head above water, and it broke his heart.
All On His Shoulders
Jones wanted nothing more than to help her, but he had no options. His father was not present in their lives, so it was his job to take care of his mother. A responsibility that weighed him down.
The bus stopped at Kroger at 4 pm, and he started to prepare himself to help strangers. Little did he know, he was going to meet someone that would change the course of his life.
It became part of his daily routine. Every day, he would wait outside the store, offering to carry shopping bags for strangers for some doughnuts.
He always ensured that he was on his best behavior, but that did not matter. He knew he looked ragged with his worn-out clothes. Some told him he was begging, but others saw it as him doing them a favor. However, one person saw it as completely something else.
Losing His Hope
Jones needed food, he had no other choice. He was more than willing to work for it, but not everybody approved of his attempts.
Certain people would avoid Jones as soon as they saw him, others treated him rudely and some even blatantly ignored him. His hope started to fade and that was merely the beginning.
Bad Turn Out
Jones had a lot on his plate. He tried to maintain straight A’s at school, which was incredibly demanding. He barely had any energy due to not eating enough.
Despite this, he put his best face on for the strangers. As soon as he noticed the time, his eyes started tearing up. Things were not looking good for him that day, but then something amazing happened.
The man noticed Jones in the parking lot and observed his movements.
Jones felt hopeless, and he said a silent prayer for strength. He noticed that someone was watching him. He turned around and then he saw the man.
He was a tall man. He looked like someone who could afford to shop at nice stores. Jones was curious as to why the man was looking at him. He wondered how the man perceived him.
Jones noticed that the man was crying. He did not break eye contact once.
The Last Move
Embarrassed by his emotions, Jones quickly turned and wiped his tears. He had 10 minutes left to get some food before his bus arrived. So he took a deep breath and tried one last time.
He asked a few people without luck. But then he saw another man standing alone, organizing his bags in his shopping cart to move them to his car. Jones made his move.
Wave Of Shame
He had his back to Jones as Jones asked him if he’d accept help getting his bags to his car in exchange for some donuts. The man turned around and Jones took a step back.
It was the man who was staring at him through the window earlier. Jones felt a sudden wave of shame. He braced himself for the look of disgust he felt was sure to follow. But what happened next would change Jones’ life forever.
Matt White often shopped at the Kroger store in what was considered an “upper-class” part of a poor area in Memphis.
White usually shopped around this time of the week and this wasn’t the first time he noticed Jones walking around offering help. He noticed Jones twice before, but he never approached him, until now.
“He looked ashamed, hungry, and broken,” White later recalled. White immediately felt a tug at his heartstrings and agreed to get the boy some donuts.
However, while White got to know Jones, he was determined to do something more for him. Jones had no idea that this short encounter would only be the start of a life-changing story.
Small Price To Pay
It broke White’s heart to see the look of shame and defeat on Jones’s face as he made such a simple request. As he looked at him from the window, he already decided that it was his mission to help Jones.
Jones was overjoyed by his help. He expressed his thanks for buying him donuts and made his way towards the bus. But White wasn’t done with him yet.
Posting On Social
“I just met the most inspiring person ever,” White wrote in a now-viral post. “His name is Chauncy Jones. He’s a 16-year-old from Memphis. He approached me while I was shopping for produce asking if he could help me carry my grocery bags to my car in exchange for buying him a pack of glazed donuts.”
“This kid looked like he had been turned down 100 times. He looked ashamed, hungry, and broken. In my heart, I screamed a loud ‘yes!’, But to him, I just chuckled and said, ‘yeah dude, we’ll get you some donuts.’”
Not Only His Just Desserts
Jones had told White that he and his mother had no food in the house. It was then that White decided to take him on a shopping spree. “We got cereal and chips and frozen veggies, pizzas, Cheetos, melons, pasta, peanut butter, milk, soap, toothbrushes, just a little bit of everything.”
“All the while we talked and he told me how he makes straight A’s in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent. This kid was amazing.” The more he learned about Jones the more he couldn’t let him go.
“Chauncy kept calling himself poor, but he told me that one day he was gonna be wealthy and own his own businesses so that he could help other people in his neighborhood and buy them groceries like me. I was in awe,” White wrote.
When Jones told White that he needed to get to the bus stop, White surprised him by offering to drive him home himself to deliver the groceries. The sight that met him, however, broke his heart.
Being poor, as we all know, doesn’t necessarily mean you have nothing. More often than not it means that you have very little and struggle to get by from day to day. White had heard that Jones and his mother were poor, but he was in for a surprise.
When he finally arrived at the house, what White saw absolutely crushed him. Nothing prepared him for what he found.
An Empty Cupboard
“I gave him a ride home so that he didn’t have to take the bus and when we got to his house I was truly humbled,” he wrote. “He wasn’t kidding. He and his mom had nothing. They didn’t even have beds or furniture.”
“They were sleeping on pads made out of sleeping bags; they had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing.”
That was the moment when White realized that the boy and his mother were not only unsure of a full belly before bed, but they were so poor that they could barely call what they had a bed at all.
This boy and his mother were in greater need than White ever imagined.
White was particularly taken aback by Jones’s mother, Barbara, who was “so sweet but very fragile.” She has a condition that makes it difficult for her to walk, and she shakes. The love the boy and his mother feel for one another was obvious.
White felt like there had to be something more that he could do. While he had already done so much — the food and supplies would help them out for a couple of weeks — the singer/songwriter still wanted to do more.
A Glimmer Of Hope
“As we unpacked the food into their kitchen, you could see the hope coming back into Chauncy’s eyes. He knew he wasn’t going to be hungry,” White wrote. “He looked like a kid again. As I was leaving, I hugged him and told him how much God loved him and that he was going to grow up to be an incredible man.”
“I’ll never forget that hug. It meant more to me than any possession I have. Our God is awesome, and we can never be thankful enough for the blessings we have.” But that wasn’t the end.
“I found out they’d been living like this for years, getting by on Barbara’s disability checks,” White said, “and I just knew I had to do something. Chauncy hadn’t had new clothes in three years. I’m not wealthy, but I live a comfortable life. I saw how he was living, and it touched my heart.”
So he took to his Facebook page to share the story to see if anyone else could help out. He hoped to get enough donations to buy Jones a lawnmower to earn some summer cash before returning to high school.
An Outpouring Of Support
The post quickly went viral, with offers of jobs, food, clothing, dental care, and furniture pouring in from complete strangers. The post was shared more than 14,000 times and has more than 3,500 comments.
Overwhelmed, White set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for a new home for them, along with a college education for Jones. What happened next is more than anyone could have predicted.
Would It Work?
We all know how difficult it can be to raise money for any cause. White hoped that the story of Chauncy and his mother’s plight would make enough people open their hearts to help him reach the target.
He really wanted to help this boy. He created the account, and then it was time to wait.
Count Your Blessings
That GoFundMe page? It has raised more than $340,000 for Jones and his mother, a mother who has been on disability after years of raising her seven adopted children despite a multitude of health problems like blood clots, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
“I did the best I could,” Barbara said. “The past few years, Chauncy has been taking care of me. He’s a good boy. I couldn’t ask for better.” And now their lives were about to change.
A New Start
All of this launched into something even greater, which White called the “Chauncy’s Chance” movement. “As of today, Barbara and Chauncy have a new life. God has provided for them a home, a car, a new school, he has restored Barbara’s health, and continues to present them with endless opportunities for the future,”
White explained in a GoFundMe update. “Every dollar donated to Chauncy’s Chance was put into a protected trust that will provide them a secure future for decades. In every sense of the word, God has provided.”
Just The Beginning
Just as Jones and his mother now have a new lease on life, White wants to encourage others to “look for Chauncys out there, look for them and their stories.” “I live to fulfill God’s heart and God has a heart for the fatherless and the needy,” White said.
“The focus of this is not me and what I did, because I really didn’t do anything. I just captured a story and put it online, but our community, Memphis, picked up this family and put them on a platform.” And what do they think about that?
Not Just Friends, But Family
“He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Jones said. “Nobody ever cared more than he did.” “He’s family, that’s what he is,” Barbara added. “He’s in our lives forever now. He’s family.”
White added that It’s so rare that we get an opportunity to affect so much change in one life, and hope people pay it forward. “I think back to how many people poured into my life with their generosity, time, money, encouragement, and it brings me to tears,” he said.
“The impact that those people had on my life can never be measured. I am so grateful for the lives we share with one another, so grateful for every one of God’s children.
“I cannot thank you enough for caring about Chauncy. This is his big chance, and you’re making it possible.” And to think, every day we’re given that chance — if we’re willing to take it