Student’s chance meeting with a homeless man led to a $10,000 fundraiser

The smallest gesture really can lead to life-changing results.

Anna Loudon is a student of politics and history at Dundee University in Dundee, Scotland. Les Gordon is a native Dundonian who has been living on the streets for at least nine months. One day earlier this year, their paths crossed, and the results changed Gordon’s life.

“I work really early in the morning stocking shelves at Tesco – 6:30am to 10am,” Loudon told BuzzFeed. “Which means by the time I get out of work I am craving a coffee, so I zombie walk down to Caffè Nero, which is super close.

“I met Les outside Caffè Nero in about February. It was cold and drizzly and as I walked towards him and the coffee I kept thinking that it wasn’t a great weight for me to just buy this man a coffee. Two pound that’s all it was, and he could have a warm drink. So I stopped by and asked him if I could buy him a coffee and he said yes. When I gave him his coffee he thanked me about a dozen more times and I headed home.”

For some, the story might’ve ended there. But after a few more “coffee dates,” the pair became good friends. Last week, a heartwarming photo of the two sharing breakfast went viral.

Loudon learned more about Les’ story: After being in a car accident that broke his back, he was left unable to work, so he took to the streets, where he was spat on, shouted at, and even urinated on by passing public. He also endured freezing temperatures during the winter months.

“Despite being in such a difficult situation, Les always stays positive,” Loudon tells The Daily Record. “He’s an avid reader, he loves fishing. He’s also generous despite having so little.”

In April, Les told Loudon that he had learned he would need open-heart surgery, and that he would have to put it off because he had nowhere to go to recover from it. So Loudon set up A Home for Les, a GoFundMe page with a goal of £3,500 (approximately $5,300).

“I feel that reaching out to the community might help him finally earn enough money to get a deposit for a flat and at least a couple of months rent so that he can finally have a roof over his head,” Loudon wrote on the page. “Money that we raise for Les will go to a deposit on a flat, rent, utilities and any other expenses related to his living conditions.”

The fundraiser for Les reached its goal just a few days later, and the goodwill has not stopped: At press time, the campaign had raised more than £7,000 ($10,724). As if that weren’t enough, Loudon recently posted a video to Facebook featuring Les’ reaction to the news.

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Faith in humanity: restored.

Photo via GoFundMe

Kasia Pilat

Kasia Pilat

Kasia Pilat is a multimedia journalist who worked with the Daily Dot while completing her thesis project with New York University. She's also contributed to WNYC, the Guardian U.S., and Paste Magazine. In 2016, she was a finalist for the SXSW Interactive Innovation Award for her multimedia website What Is Home?.