Former Homeless Man Pays It Forward
Last year, Curtis Butler, III was homeless. He slept in his car, and twice overdosed on pills and alcohol, trying to take his own life. This week, he is giving money to those less fortunate.
Butler, 45, is a veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. When he returned home, he was initially denied benefits. Soon, he lost contact with his children, and had no income. He had no home, no money, and no hope.
“I figured nobody cared about me,” Butler recalls. “I had to worry about paying bills. I didn’t love myself or anyone else.”
Butler did eventually get his benefits and turned his life around. So on Monday, when he heard a fellow Georgia Power customer talking about how hard it was to make ends meet, Butler had the opportunity to pay it forward.
Butler was standing in line, waiting to pay his utility bill, when he overheard the other customer talking about the difficulties of getting by in this economy. Butler paid the couple’s $230 bill — and just couldn’t stop.
He paid power bills for 20 people, not stopping until he had doled out about $2,000.
“This was the anniversary of me being homeless and now I am putting smiles on other people’s faces,” Butler reported.
One woman’s power had been turned off at her home because she didn’t have the money to pay her bill. Butler not only paid the bill, but gave her more cash for her children, saying “your kids can’t open their presents on Christmas morning with no lights on… And now, they have more money for food or presents.”
According to Georgia Power clerk Genice Harris, everyone at the office was stunned. “I could tell it was spontaneous and he was smiling and people were like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ They actually started taking pictures with this guy,” Harris said. “There really is a God and…. He does send people to help others that are in need,” Harris said.
“I have been there and done it, been close to eating out of trash cans….I was the one on the street with my hand out asking for some change,” Butler told ABC News. “God put me in that predicament, so that one day I could help others.”
Butler has written a book about living with PTSD and he has a website to promote his efforts advocating new programs for disabled veterans. In his book, “PTSD: My Story, Please Listen!” he writes about returning home and falling on hard times.
“Just because we have PTSD, doesn’t mean we are not good people,” Butler said. “We come back from fighting in a war and we can’t get a job… It is hard to tell your kid that ‘I can’t support you because I am homeless after fighting for our country.’”
Butler has now gotten the help that he needs. He gets counseling through his church, has reconnected with his kids, and owns his own home. He is even about to get married.
“One night I prayed and I asked God, ‘can you reveal to me my wife?’ And he said, ‘Yeah stupid, you sit next to [her in ] church every Sunday’….God works miracles and wonders every day,” Butler said.
Butler has shown his Good Samaritan heart before. He once bought haircuts for 200 homeless vets and the people of his community.
So what will Butler’s next good deed be? “Me and God are going to talk about that,” he said.
[Image from ShutterStock]