While heading to a store to get some groceries late at night, a Memphis man encountered a black teen who asked him a question that caught him completely off guard. Stopped in his tracks by what was happening, he saw what was behind him and acted fast. Now, this man will never look at life the same way.
Matt White was at a Kroger store in an upper-class part of a generally poor area at around 9 p.m. at night when 16-year-old Chauncy Jones Black approached him. Before the boy could even get all the words out of his mouth, Matt was struck by the look on his face and his overall demeanor.
“With his head hanging in shame, it seemed like he had been turned down 100 times,” Matt wrote in a social media post of what happened that night.
Chauncy Jones Black had taken the bus to the “rich people’s Kroger,” as he referred to it, in hopes of working for food since he had none. He only had an hour to do it before he had to catch the bus back to his house, where he lived alone with his mother.
The teen asked Matt White if he could carry his groceries out to his car for him in exchange for a pack of glazed donuts. “He looked ashamed, hungry and broken,” Matt recalled. So, he immediately said that he would get him some donuts, but he wanted to do something else also.
After taking Matt’s groceries out to his car, Chauncy told him that he enjoys school, gets straight A’s, and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent since the two of them have nothing but each other and a bus pass.
Hearing his story, Matt invited the boy back into the store and said he wanted him to fill the cart up with all the items that he needed. Of course, the teen graciously took him up on the offer.
When they were finished shopping, Matt White saw the bus pull up behind the boy, but he didn’t want this kid to have to haul all these bags home on his own, so he offered to give him a ride instead. When Matt pulled up to Chauncy’s house, he couldn’t believe what he saw.
“When we got to his house, I was truly humbled. He wasn’t kidding. He and his mom had nothing. They didn’t even have beds or furniture,” Matt wrote in his post. “They were sleeping on pads made out of sleeping bags, they had two lamps and nothing in their fridge.”
Matt White was particularly taken aback by Chauncy’s mother, Barbara, who was “so sweet but very fragile.” She has a condition that makes it difficult for her to walk, and she shakes. The love the boy and his mother feel for one another was obvious.
As Matt helped the teen fill his fridge and cabinets with all the groceries, he could see the light start to come back into the boy’s face. “He looked like a kid again,” Matt said, adding that there was hope in his eyes, whereas before he was full of despair.
Matt White left that night moved by this boy. After writing about what happened on Facebook, he decided something more had to be done. He started a GoFundMe for him which raised over $342,000 for the family, thanks to kind-hearted people in this country who were touched by Matt’s post and Chauncy’s desire to get himself and his ill mom out of poverty.
All of this launched into something even greater, which Matt called the “Chauncy’s Chance” movement. “As of today, Barbara and Chauncy have a new life. God has provided for them a home, a car, a new school, he has restored Barbara’s health and continues to present them with endless opportunities for the future,” Matt explained in a GoFundMe update.
“Every dollar donated to Chauncy’s Chance was put into a protected trust that will provide them a secure future for decades. In every sense of the word, God has provided,” he added. “But there were so many more miraculous things that happened along the way.”
Matt explained that “in the process of creating all the miracles for Chauncy’s Chance, God pieced together the most beautiful tapestry of fellowship and community I have ever witnessed: one that is so strong that we believe He intends to use it to uplift yet another family in need.”
Matt White then explained that “with God’s blessing, we are stepping out in faith to fulfill that mission,” before introducing the next recipient of Chauncy’s Chance, the volunteer movement that started in a Kroger grocery store when one man went above and beyond to make a difference.
Matt didn’t see skin color on this kid or make any bad assumption about him, he saw a boy struggling more than any kid should, with a desire to earn what he needed. The man acted immediately to help the teen out because he had the ability to do it, and in turn, his good deed inspired a chain reaction of kindness that led to the teen not only being able to work and continue to fill his fridge but an entire charity that’s continuing to change lives — all started by one small act of kindness.