We sometimes judge others by what we see on the surface. We’re in a hurry, going about our lives, and we stumble upon a homeless person or someone down on their luck. We might conclude, incorrectly, that they’re into drugs or are criminals, even though these folks haven’t given us any reason to believe our misconceptions are true.

Dr. Roberta Hoskie is now a successful businesswoman, but she once was homeless. Earlier this month, Hoskie was going about her day. With her hands full, she rushed around New Haven, Connecticut, and didn’t realize when she dropped something very important – a check for $10,000.

Thankfully, a good Samaritan happened upon the check and sought her out to return it.

Elmer Alvarez, a homeless man, picked up the check and knew he had to find Hoskie. He went to the public library to look up Hoskie’s business and contacted her.

Hoskie was touched that this man, down on his luck, would take the time to seek her out to return the money. She decided to do something incredible that would change Alvarez’s life forever.

Hoskie invited Alvarez to the Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday. Reporters were there to capture the touching moments in the conference room.

“He has no idea what’s about to happen,” Hoskie said.

When Alvarez arrived, Hoskie told him she would be giving him free tuition to her real estate course and English classes. Then she took things one step further.

“You don’t have to worry about being in the cold,” she told Alvarez. “We have housing for you.”

Alvarez teared up as he said, “Thank God!”

Hoskie also scheduled a job interview for Alvarez with one of her business partners.

Alvarez couldn’t be more thankful for Hoskie’s generosity.

“There are always angels out here in heaven and earth,” said Alvarez.

Hoskie’s kindness did come with one condition: Alvarez must pay it forward.

“When you get on your feet, you go ahead, and you do it for the next person and the next person and the next person,” Hoskie told him.

Alvarez didn’t hesitate to accept her challenge.

“I’m going to go for it,” he told her.

Hoskie says she didn’t do this kind deed to seek attention or gain anything in return.

“Honestly, I give it from the bottom of my heart, and I expect nothing back in return,” she said.

Isn’t that what kindness is all about – giving without expecting in return? How often do we just do something nice for someone without expectations?

Kindness shouldn’t just be relegated to the holiday season. It’s contagious if you just take the first step!

Were you touched by what Hoskie did for Alvarez after he returned her money? So share this!