Acts of Kindness
Man takes former teacher who is now homeless out to eat with ulterior motive up his sleeve
His former teacher never saw this coming...
Sasha Alonzo
05.02.22

We’ve all seen homeless people in our lives – and each time we do most of us pause to wonder how those people ended up there.

Unlike what many of us might think, it is not only drug addicts or mentally ill people who end up with no stable income and, therefore, cannot afford a place to stay. Sometimes it happens to good people.

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Hard times

There are people like all of us out there, people who once had perfectly normal lives, who never did drugs, who are not gamblers, who don’t suffer from mental illness, yet life was harsh on them. Some of them simply lost their jobs and had debts that they couldn’t pay, others were kicked out by their family for various reasons.

It is always sad to see people who have known better days, who are not used to this kind of life, living on the street and struggling every day.

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Unsplash

A former teacher

Now, imagine finding out one of your former teachers had ended up homeless. How would you feel about it?

Devastated. That’s how Steven Nava felt a few weeks ago, when he found out his former teacher, Jose Villaruel had been homeless since last year.

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Nava saw Villaruel by chance and, when he realized that his former teacher was in a difficult situation, he decided to do whatever he could to help him, just like Villaruel once had helped him.

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“I usually see him almost every single day and it got me thinking, ‘I’ve got to talk to him and know his situation.’ I was just devastated and gutted for the reality of the pandemic and how it has left teachers without a job and this is one of the results and it’s sad to see one of your own teachers go through that so it only makes you want to help out more,” Nava told Fox11.

Mr. V

Villaruel, or Mr. V, as his students used to call him, had been a substitute teacher for decades in Fontana, California. When the pandemic hit last year and distance learning was introduced, the 76-year-old at the time decided to resign.

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“I decided the school situation has changed completely and I believed that a job of a substitute was over. In May, I submitted my resignation. I managed to do all of the paperwork, all of the arrangements to get my pension. I got my check, but that check didn’t last long because I had debts already,” he said.

Living in his car

Since then, the elderly man had been living in his car, which served as a means of transport, a dining room, and a bedroom for him. But his former student knew this had to change.

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So, Nava started a GoFundMe for Mr. V, so he could surprise him on his birthday. Last week, on the day Villaruel turned 77, Nava, along with the Mayor and several former students of Villaruel’s, surprised him with a $27,000 check and many gifts.

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The man was so happy he couldn’t hide his feelings.

“My initial thought was, ‘Am I dreaming?’ I still can’t get over this experience,” he said.

Still wanting to help others

After realizing what had happened, Villaruel knew he would not be using the money just for himself, but to do some good for the community.

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“The greatest feeling that I have right now is like an obligation that I need to do a lot for the world and the greatest feeling is I can do it and I’m going to find a way to do it,” he said.

Sometimes helping someone can help you years down the road when you need it the most. Watch the video below to see Mr. V’s reaction.

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By Sasha Alonzo
hi@sbly.com
Sasha Alonzo is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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