Will work for food


Will work for food

It had been a stressful week. My husband and I were restoring a Victorian home in Downtown Colorado Springs that was Under Contract and scheduled to close in about ten days. It was the third day in a row that we had trouble getting
contractors from different professions to show up when they said they would. 

It was during that time that my husband and I decided that this would be the last time we would ever count on others to help us reach deadlines. The next time we restored a home, we would do it ourselves. There wasn't much that we couldn't do ~ from roof to foundation and everything in between. That was also the time he decided to get his General Contractor's license and I decided to get my real estate license.

will work for foodBut on this particular day, I was angry and frustrated that no one ever seemed to do what they said they were going to do when they said they were going to do it, and we were running out of time. As I drove back from the hardware store with supplies in the back of my husband's pickup, I had been mentally planning on what it was going to take for just the two of us to finish the work. I knew if we had a schedule we carefully stuck to, we would be able to get it done ~ IF there were no surprises.

As I pulled up to a red light, there was a man sitting in the middle of the median flying a "Will work for food" sign. I rolled down the window and asked him if he was sober enough to work ~ or was he just looking for a hand-out? He said, "No, ma'am, I'm the hardest worker you'll ever find." I asked him if he wanted a job for the next few days, and he said, "I have a few friends that are also good workers. Would you have enough work for them too?" I have a pretty discerning spirit and felt no threat from this person at all. He climbed into the back of the truck, and we stopped at three more street corners picking up various friends. 

My dear husband was not at all surprised when I showed up and they began unloading supplies. After briefly explaining the situation (it is so wonderful to be married to someone who has complete faith in you), we decided that the best course of events would be for us to work at this vacant Victorian and have them help with the labor.

Within minutes it was obvious that Skip was the leader of these tramps (their preferred moniker) and his crew was a well-oiled machine. Polite, eager, the best workers we had ever hired, it was exciting to watch the magic that happened and the interaction among them. When I brought them lunch a few hours later, they all tried to pay me for it. By this time, working along side of them, I had a pretty good idea of who they were, and had no concerns at all to their basic character. 

will work for foodI explained that, in addition to their hourly wage, we would also provide their meals. AND if they wanted to, they could stay in the vacant house that we were working on since they were all homeless. A bond was formed in that moment that has lasted almost two decades.

We lived on the block where this house was located, and over the next few days, when the work was finished at the end of the day and they had all cleaned up, my girls and I would sit on the front porch and listen to some of the most fascinating stories we had ever heard. It was an amazing time, a time of opening horizons and learning about other ways of life. A time of finding out how truly blessed we are. A time of really learning that, just because people live a different lifestyle than what we consider 'normal,' that there are good people everywhere.

The entire experience was truly a blessing ~ including, in retrospect, the original workers who didn't show up. A few times a year when Skip was riding thru town on a rail, he would pop in to see if we had any work for him. He would have protected any one of us with his life, and he became part of our family.

He has settled in Tacoma WA now, which in and of itself is one of the most incredible parts of this story. So I would encourage you to trust your gut. Good or bad, LISTEN to your initial instincts and apply reason. But if you open your mind to new and different possibilities, you may just find that the world is a whole lot bigger than the little box we live in and understand.

(Don't forget, you can hit the END button to get to the end of the comments, and HOME to get back to the top of the page.  Many of these comments were worth reading, but just a little trick)

Will work for food was written by Mimi Foster

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If you would like to search for Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs,

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 Colorado Springs Realtor Mimi Foster 

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Selling homes throughout Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City,
Manitou Springs, and surrounding areas

Re-Blogged 8 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor® 11/21/2011 05:41 AM
  2. Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD 11/21/2011 05:45 AM
  3. Marge Piwowarski 11/21/2011 06:44 AM
  4. Cathy Criado 11/21/2011 09:39 AM
  5. Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional 11/21/2011 12:58 PM
  6. John McCormack 11/21/2011 02:23 PM
  7. Cathy McAlister 11/21/2011 04:16 PM
  8. Cal Yoder 11/23/2011 05:01 AM
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will work for food

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Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Fjor the grace of God go I.  I have not been homeless but I have been near the bottom.  It can be hard to climb out.

Nov 22, 2011 09:36 AM #142
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thank you so much, Marte.  Freedom is a wonderful thing.

Tamara ~ it's all about choices each day, isn't it?

Thank you so much, Brett.


Nov 22, 2011 09:44 AM #143
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Thanks, Daniel!

Oh, Gina, I LOVED your comment! :)  And the really neat thing is that He STILL loves you :))))  Good to see you!

Well, hey, Jon!  I actually found Skip at Fillmore and Nevada.  Small world!


Nov 22, 2011 09:46 AM #144
Michael Rasch
Florida Home Sales and Investments - Hallandale Beach, FL
Michael Rasch 305-741-1819

Mimi, sometimes you get lucky sometimes you don't. In this case this was 20 years ago where people were more responsible unrealistic to who they were ( I could be wrong just my age ) but the point is that you took a risk and you are rewarded and that's the advantage of being a risk taker.


As for your restoration project congratulations that it was completed. It's interesting to note is that you got to hear some hobo stories. those who are lucky enough to hear them, learn the realities of the road, if anything they probably thought your daughters how to become a very responsible towards all living life and how to protect those you cherish.

I'm glad it turned out for your better

Michael Rasch

Nov 22, 2011 10:00 AM #145
Tyla Edwards
Keller Williams - Castro Valley, CA

This is a true Holiday story. Sometimes life is amazing and give us something special to remember.

And remember what goes around, comes around and that good deed will come back and find you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2011 11:50 AM #146
Susanna Haynie
CO-RE Group, LLC -Real estate sales and services - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor GRI CNE MCNE ePro MRP


what a great story.

I love the fact that you trusted your gut and went with what felt right. I think sometimes we tend to forget that we can all learn from each other. Very heart warming.



Nov 22, 2011 12:18 PM #147
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

I finished reading your last post about Skip and him delivering a basket of flowers for you.  He must be a very good man, thinking of his fellow homeless men as well.  Thanks for bringing us such a great story during this Thanksgiving week.


Nov 22, 2011 01:08 PM #148
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

What a timely and heartwarming story, Mimi!  My mother and dad lived during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  My mother was married to her first husband then.  Shortly after the depression began, by mother's husband became really ill with symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease.  My mother carried the family, which included my older sister, a small child at the time, by working outside the home.  As rough as things were financially, she told stories for the remainder of her life about the kindness of strangers, who added little periodic blessings to their existence.  Sadly, Mom's first husband passed away, just as the nation was beginning to emerge from the economic severity of that era.

Nov 22, 2011 02:03 PM #149
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Mimi!  Well, I stand firm on my conviction that you are not only a beautiful writer but, a beautiful person with a heart of pure gold!  Life's lessons like these are only available to those who open their hearts to such lessons and you are one open-hearted gal!  What a great story with a better-than-happy ending.

And, to have your hubby comment is just icing on the cake--mine has YET to do that!!  How SWEET!

Nov 22, 2011 03:54 PM #150
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Mimi, a good story and I myself did something similar, however my story ended with the guy stealing a few checks which he forged and cashed weeks later for drugs. So, as I commend your spirit in giving, I personally will not do that again, it just isn't worth the aggravation.

Nov 22, 2011 04:33 PM #151
Laura Gibson, CRS (817 229-4494) Grapevine TX
RE/MAX Unlimited in Grapevine TX - Grapevine, TX

What a heartwarming story for this time of year!  Are you still redoing old houses?  I did a few in my younger years.

Laura Gibson, CRS, Remax on Main in Grapevine TX

Nov 22, 2011 04:46 PM #152
Tammy Fullriede
Bale Realty - Wilmington, IL

God Bless You Mimi!

Nov 22, 2011 11:25 PM #153
Linda Gurtel, CRS
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Glastonbury, CT

It is good to know some of them really do want to work and not just a handout.  Thank you for sharing this great story.

Nov 23, 2011 03:29 AM #154
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Mimi,  What a great story and a happy ending.  I am so reluctant to help those you describe because you wonder how many are just lazy and looking for a handout!

Nov 23, 2011 12:09 PM #155
Roseanne Campagna
John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA - Maple Valley, WA
Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA

Great holiday story - or anytime for that matter. The way life should be all the time, yes?

Nov 25, 2011 06:23 AM #156
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Once again you make me want to make a cup of tea for two and just listen to all of your life stories Mimi. I hope you and your family ha da fabulous Thanksgiving!  I love this story. -Kasey

Nov 25, 2011 05:56 PM #157
Bernadette A. James
Serving Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond and Pearland - Sugar Land, TX
Broker-Associate, Keller Williams Realty SW

Wonderful story of sharing, caring and having faith in others. That's what life is about all year round.

Nov 26, 2011 02:49 AM #158
Roshan Quigley
Weichert Realtors - Manalapan/Marlboro, NJ - Manalapan, NJ

This is a great story to read - especially over Thanksgiving - yes we all have so much to be thankful for.

Thanks for sharing.

Nov 26, 2011 03:30 AM #159
Gene Donohue
Only Way Realty / UpstateHomeSeller.com - Greenville, SC
Flat Fee Service...Exceptional Results!

Mimi, you truly are an inspiration with a heartfelt story that's another example of "We are One with all that is".

Nov 28, 2011 01:08 AM #160
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

That is such an incredible story.  I'm also a rehabber in addition to being a realtor, and have come across both some unsavory characters...and some remarkably interesting ones.  The thing I have learned is that you truly can't judge a book by its cover, and some of the most remarkable people are underneath that unkempt exterior.  Thanks for sharing your experience!

May 29, 2012 02:35 AM #161
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