Last week, Detroit MI resident Marcus Lotts stopped at the Royal Fresh Market where he encountered a seventeen-year-old stranger standing outside the store asking for food and not money. Marcus was so moved by the teen’s request that he bought the teen ten bags of groceries to take home. The next day, Marcus bought even more food for the teen’s family and delivered it to their home, only to find that a mother and her nine children (two of whom live with disabilities) lived in a broken-down house with gaping holes in the ceiling, a leaking roof, and black mold everywhere.

Quickly, Marcus decided to do something more, which included putting a video of the family’s poor housing conditions on Facebook. That resulted in a local television station doing a news story about the family and a church and nonprofit becoming involved. Things took off from there and Marcus set up a GoFundMe page to raise $50,000 to help the family find new permanent housing.

As of when I composed this story, $47,610 had been given by more than 1100 people. Recall that this is occurring in the middle of a pandemic with millions out of work and struggling. You can access the GoFundMe page for the family here.

As Marcus related to Detroit's FOX 2, “When I first put this video out, I didn’t expect it to have the impact it had. To me, I was doing something normal and something that was normal turned into something enormous like this.”

Connesha Harris, whose family was benefitted by Marcus and others, said, “You all don’t know how much love I’ve felt. Even though I’ve felt embarrassment I felt the love.”

The experience has caused Marcus to want to do more. He now plans to start his own nonprofit called the “Florence Foundation” after his grandmother. The goal is to help other single-parent families.

I regularly teach that 98 percent of all humans have good empathetic hearts—the problem is that we’re either afraid to use our heart or just not paying attention to see those in need of help. This story about Marcus listening to a seventeen-year-old and then taking action to help in a myriad of ways perfectly demonstrates my point about empathy and compassion. On top of that, a whole lot of other “98 percenters” showed up to help too. Hooray for humans!