By Lee Cowan
(CBS News) For most parents, when a child leaves the nest it’s usually for good. But at age 51, Tony Tolbert has come home again. And it’s for all the right reasons — or so says his mom.
“He is so giving, and he’s always been that way,” said Marie Tolbert.
Tony grew up in a home that always seemed to have a spare bed — thanks to his father – Jimmy Tolbert.
An entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, Tolbert’s dad extended a hand to almost anyone down on their luck. In fact, Tolbert can’t remember a time there wasn’t someone extra living in their house — and that gave the Harvard-educated attorney an idea.
He decided to take his dad’s generosity one step further.
He announced he was moving back home, because he was giving up his own fully furnished L.A. home, rent free, for a full year — to a family he’d never even met.
“You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or Oprah,” Tolbert said. “We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have, and for me, I have a home that I can make available.”
But to whom? Tolbert sought out a shelter for homeless women and children called Alexandria House. It was there he found Felicia Dukes.
Needless to say, she couldn’t believe the offer when she heard it.
“They had a young man that wanted to donate their house to you for a year,” Dukes recounted. “And I’m looking at her, like, what? Like — Are you serious?”
Dukes had been sharing a single room at the shelter with three of her children. But it was for kids only and her older son couldn’t join them. So not only was the family homeless and broke, but separated.
Until the boxes arrived at Duke’s new home — Tolbert’s old one. And shortly after the boxes, her son showed up too.
“My heart just fills up and stuff, um….I’m just really happy,” Dukes said tearfully.
And those weren’t the only tears of joy.
Tolbert also became emotional when he talked about the life lessons he learned from his father, who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Kindness creates kindness. Generosity creates generosity. Love creates love,” he said. “And I think if we can share some of that and have more stories about people doing nice things for other people, and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that’s a better world.”
Not a bad thought to begin the new year.
I have received many responses to many of the posts on this blog, thus far. However, may I request that you please reply in the comment section of the blog – as opposed to on Twitter, Facebook, emails, etc. – so that all responses will be together. Your comment may be helpful to others who come across something that they can relate to. You can comment anonymously.
Thank you and many blessings.
I was watching her show a few months ago when Ellen first surprised this mom of five boys. Hearing her story practically brought me to tears. The initial surprise was such a heartwarming moment, after all that she has been through. On today’s show Ellen brought her back for one more surprise….make that two. 🙂
#in2011 I pray that people show LOVE at every opportunity and realize that the more LOVE you show, the more LOVE you will feel inside.
#in2011 I pray that people focus on trying to uplift one another rather than tear them down.
#in2011 I pray that people stop trying to be ‘better than the next person’ and focus on being a better version of themselves.
#in2011 I pray that people stop focusing on the ‘darkness’ of their past and open themselves up to the ‘light’ of their FUTURE
#in2011 I pray that people get out of unhealthy relationships and habits and surround themselves with LOVE
#in2011 I pray that before people pre-judge others and spread rumors and gossip, they put themselves in the others persons shoes and proceed with acceptance, kindness and LOVE
#in2011 I pray that people focus more of what they have and should be thankful for and not on what others have that they ‘think’ they should have
#in2011 I pray that people think of others more. Stop the “me” and embrace the “we”. Help others in need if and when they can
#in2011 I pray that people think of their glass as half full – not half empty
#in2011 I pray that everyone SPREADS LOVE!
#in2011 I wish you all Peace, Love, Health & Happiness. May this be the year that your hopes and dreams become your reality. ♥
Please view this entry, as well: http://myforkedroad.com/2010/09/26/they-have-learned-to-feed-each-other/
“I didn’t have to thank him. I trusted him all along,” said Merrie Harris, 45, as she hugged Jay Valentine, 32, outside La Esquina on Kenmare Street.
Harris lent her card to Valentine there Monday after he asked her for change. Most people who witnessed the act of extreme generosity doubted he would ever come back. But a short time later, he returned with the card, stunning many and earning Valentine the title of Most Honest Homeless Man in the City.
Valentine told The Post that he was surprised to be handed the card, but he never thought to take advantage of Harris’ generosity.
“I wasn’t tempted at all,” said the 32-year-old Brooklyn native. “She trusted me, and I didn’t want to violate that trust. I would never do that.”
Valentine said he has been homeless for a few years, since he lost his job at a real-estate company that had allowed him to sleep in the office. He said he now spends his nights in an Internet cafe whose staff allows him to sleep on their chairs. He said he was hungry and low on cash on Monday when he saw Harris standing with friends outside the restaurant.
“I asked her for change and told her I wasn’t working,” he said.
“She said she only had a card. She said, ‘Can I trust you?’ I said, ‘I’m honest, yes.’
“I went and bought a few things and came back and gave her her credit card back, and everybody was surprised.
“I said thanks for trusting me. I guess she had a good sense of judgment. She knew I was trustworthy.”
Valentine said he bought deodorant, body wash, a pack of Nat Sherman cigarettes and Vitaminwater. It all cost about $25, he said.
“She was really lucky it was me she ran into” and not someone who would have stolen the card, Valentine said. “I was really in need. I only had a couple of dollars on me.”
“It sets a good example that people in need — like I am or worse — can and should be trusted,” he said. “Everybody in the restaurant was surprised. They probably thought I would run off with the card.”