Things That Matter

Her Story Went Viral After Giving A Convicted Felon A Two-Hour Job When He Was Just Asking For Food

Cesia Abigail / Facebook

He wanted a couple of bucks, she gave him a job.

Cesia Abigail Baires is doing more than just serving up Central American food in her Minneapolis, Minn., diner. The owner of Abi’s Café, a Salvadoran café in the Midwest city, is making sure that she pays it back to the community. It all started when Marcus, a homeless man, walked into her café and asked for money. Rather than give him money, Baires offered Marcus a job to help since she was understaffed. Before Marcus took the job, he opened up about his felony past and Baires gave Marcus a meal. Baires took a photo of Marcus two weeks later and still working at the café and posted it to Facebook where it went viral.

“He told me about his situation. He said he got felonies, and nobody wants to hire him. Especially around this area if you look homeless they won’t even let you in,” Baires told ABC News. “To me that’s unacceptable.”

This is the Facebook post that Baires shared that has since gone viral.

He came in to the cafe one day asking me for some $$. I looked at him and asked him “why don’t you have a job, you know…

Posted by Cesia Abigail on Friday, March 25, 2016


“His eyes opened wide and his smile made my day!!!! He said ‘I’ll do anything for some food,'” Baires wrote about the day she offered Marcus a job. “So now for almost 2 weeks he been on time for his two-hour shift: helping take trash [out], washing dishes etc. Once I pay him guess what he does? He buys food from my restaurant (HE DECIDES TO PAY) because it makes him feel good!”

She continued by writing, “God gave me this blessing so why can’t I bless others? ? This is what should break the internet. We want change? Well, start by making one  team.”

Baires has received an outpouring of support since her story of compassion was shared on Facebook.

Cesia Abigail / Facebook
CREDIT: Cesia Abigail / Facebook

“He has been a blessing for me,” Baires told ABC News. “I don’t see it as me being a blessing to him. I see it as me being blessed, so I can bless him, so he can bless me.”

Even the New York Giants have shown in Minneapolis café owner some love.

Cesia Abigail / Facebook
CREDIT: Cesia Abigail / Facebook

“Just like Marcus, I had my help,” Abigail told CBS News. “I had plenty of people to help make it to where I am today. They believed I could do it. People need to have someone believe in them.”


READ: A Pizza Shop in Mexico is Feeding and Motivating the Homeless in the Simplest Way

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This Army Recruit Just Got His First Haircut In 15 Years And OMG He’s Unrecognizable

Culture

This Army Recruit Just Got His First Haircut In 15 Years And OMG He’s Unrecognizable

As a society, we place a lot of importance on hair to impose a set of standards, etiquette, and mores on each other. Thus, I don’t take it lightly that U.S. Army Private Reynold Arroyo had a big  — no, massive — chop so that he could enlist. Arroyo donated a whopping 150 inches or 12.5 feet of hair to Locks of Love

Hair can be such an expression of who we are, that it’s not uncommon for people to cry after a bad haircut. Hair can be such a reflection of beauty standards, that it’s not uncommon for us Afro-Latinxs to cry over our alleged “pelo malo.” Boys have short hair, girls have long hair, blondes have more fun, brunettes are brainy. There are hairstyles and haircuts (usually the black and brown ones) that are banned in schools, offices, and institutions. 

Now, are you as exhausted as I am? Take it from me, if you have the freedom to wear your hair without restrictions, take advantage. Get weird!

Long hair, don’t care.

When 23-year-old Arroyo decided to enlist at the Army recruiting station in Missoula, Montana, he knew he would have to make some changes. The California native had moved to Montana just to enlist.

“I moved out here from California, and I’m just really excited to be enlisting in the Army,” Arroyo said. 

The only problem was Arroyo hadn’t cut his hair in 15 years. His last haircut was in 2004. I have a medium-sized afro that is home to several squirrel families, I can only imagine what’s in Arroyo’s mane. 

Tío Sam ain’t playing.

The Army has strict grooming guidelines and as it stood, Arroyo’s 150 inches of luscious locks weren’t going to work for Uncle Sam. Tío Sam was like, “Nah, your hair is to dope for this job where everybody has to look the same for strategic reasons and important military things, bruh.” 

I can’t imagine what it is like going through a military makeover. According to the longstanding policy, men’s hair must be “neatly groomed” with “sideburns neatly trimmed.” This clearly leaves little room for swag or rock and roll, although Arroyo makes due.

15 years and 150 inches later…

While the army provides haircuts, Arroyo decided to get a headstart on the makeover. As soon as he enlisted as an Infantryman with the Army Airborne at the Missoula Army Recruiting Station, our boy was ready to trim his follicles for a good cause. Bruh has got spunk! 

A stylist put Arroyo’s hair into multiple sectioned ponytails before she snipped and buzzed 12.5 feet of locks. His hair was longer than an NBA player. His hair has more square footage than every New York City apartment. His hair is so long, Rapunzel was like: do you use Morrocan oil? I must have your secrets. Before he was serving hair metal, now he’s serving … metal tanks at the military (I don’t know anything about the Army, but he looks good)! Get you a man who can do both.

When the stylist was finished there was so much hair it filled up two bags. The Salt Lake City Army Recruiting Battalion shared Arroyo’s transformation on Facebook. 

“He decided to cut his hair in exchange for a brighter future with the Army and donate it to the Locks of Love foundation,” they wrote in the caption. 

Locks of Love.

Arroyo donated all 150 inches to the organization Locks of Love. The nonprofit charity, founded in 1997, uses human hair donations to provide wigs for Canadian and American children in need of hair due to medical conditions. The organization was spearheaded by Madonna Coffman, a cardiac nurse, who lost her hair to alopecia in her 20s after receiving a hepatitis vaccination. While Coffman eventually recovered, 13 years later, she was shocked to discover her 4-year-old daughter had alopecia too. Locks of Love was born out of a mother’s pain and compassion. In over three decades, the nonprofit has provided thousands of wigs and hairpieces to children. 

We stan a benevolent king.

“Today we’re going to be cutting my hair. Hopefully, some lucky little girl’s gonna get it,” he said in the video.

I think several people will probably get your hair, Arroyo. Although, it would be nice to think that there is one bratty little kid who demands all 150 inches of hair so that they can strut around the playground like a boss. 

Shout out to Arroyo for not one but two acts of service in a day. I am sure he will have many more once he gets his juices flowing in the Army. 

Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

Things That Matter

Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

The migration from Central America to the North isn’t as simple as people seeking out the American Dream. That is a beautiful fantasy, after all, but it’s not the whole truth. The reason people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are leaving their country is because of the violence, and it’s also about so much more. It’s a matter of life and death. While murderers are responsible for countless senseless deaths, others are fleeing because of limited resources, and lack of necessary essentials.

Some Salvadorans, especially from poor communities, are fleeing their country because there’s a significant water shortage.

Credit: @m_painter / Twitter

The water crisis in El Salvador isn’t something that just happened overnight. Researchers and organizations have been warning about this catastrophe in El Salvador for decades. The Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education Foundation (SHARE) group documented back in 2007 that impoverished communities demanded water rights in their areas. Most, if not all, of the main water, was going to private companies and being used by the top of society. The most impoverished people in El Salvador, which is a significant group, were being left with nothing. Now, a new study shows that there’s a deadline to the last drop. 

New research shows that the entire country of El Salvador will be unhabitable in 80 years if the water crisis is not rectified.

Credit: @nicadispatch / Twitter

The Defensa de Los Derechos Humanos (PDDH) released a study that showed the dire numbers which led to the government of El Salvador to declare a national emergency.    

“According to the scientific analyzes carried out by different international organizations and analyzed in the present study, if we continue in this logic of deterioration, degradation of water goods in El Salvador, in 80 years life will be unfeasible in the country,” David Morales, head of the PDDH, said, according to EFE. 

The water crisis seems to be the result of two factors: climate change and the privatization of water. 

Credit: @brockaletti / Twitter

The National Geographic reports that after two major natural disasters, El Salvador struggled to recover. In 2014, the country suffered an exceptional drought which left “96,000 Salvadoran families without adequate food,” and millions more going hungry. The following year, El Niño brought even more dry weather. 

“If we want to confront climate change, we first need to have strong governance,” Helga Cuéllar-Marchelli, director of the department of social studies at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) told the National Geographic. “We need a joint effort from the central government, municipal governments, civil society, [and] the business sector. If there is no legal framework, it will be very difficult to coordinate efforts.”

The water crisis is forcing members of poor communities to walk for miles to get water from wells only to find there might not be any there for them.

Credit: @ProfRPalacios / Twitter

The “natural” water that is available for poor people isn’t safe to use because it’s contaminated, but because they have no other choice, they use it anyway. 

The publication reports that sewer water that carries intense contamination levels goes straight into natural water, including streams and rivers. It is this water that people use to drink, wash their clothes and bathe. More than 90 percent of this natural water is toxic, and an estimated 6.4 million people are using this contaminated water. 

Early this year, people from El Salvador marched for water rights and people on social media used the hashtag #NoAlaPrivatizacionDelAgua.

Credit: @danalvarenga / Twitter

The protest, led by students, feminists, and advocates of water rights, were also met with pushback from police forces. 

The World Bank reports that local farmers and people trying to survive with their own crops are the ones that are facing this major crisis. Salvadorans aren’t the only ones affected either, but neighboring countries as well. 

“More than half a million families are suffering from what experts call ‘food insecurity,’ – in other words, the lack of food – due to agricultural and livestock losses. According to estimates by Central American governments, Oxfam and other international aid agencies, 236,000 families in Guatemala, 120,000 in Honduras, 100,000 in Nicaragua and 96,000 in El Salvador are already facing this situation.”

Jess Ofelia Alvarenga, an independent reporter, documented how her family, is dealing with the water crisis in El Salvador.

This summer she filmed the struggle her uncle faces with the lack of water. She says he can no longer harvest rice or watermelons. It is this lack of water that is forcing thousands to move to El Salvador’s metropolitan areas, which already has a scarcity of water for the low-income, or flee the country altogether. 

READ: El Salvador’s New President Represents A Change In The Country’s Political System

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