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Former Homeless Man Pays It Forward

Butler heard a customer talking about how hard it was to make ends meet, and paid his bill.

Last year, Curtis Butler, III was homeless. He slept in his car, and twice overdosed on pills and alcohol, trying to take his own life. This week, he is giving money to those less fortunate.

Butler, 45, is a veteran who served two tours in Iraq. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. When he returned home, he was initially denied benefits. Soon, he lost contact with his children, and had no income. He had no home, no money, and no hope.

“I figured nobody cared about me,” Butler recalls. “I had to worry about paying bills. I didn’t love myself or anyone else.”

Butler did eventually get his benefits and turned his life around. So on Monday, when he heard a fellow Georgia Power customer talking about how hard it was to make ends meet, Butler had the opportunity to pay it forward.

Butler was standing in line, waiting to pay his utility bill, when he overheard the other customer talking about the difficulties of getting by in this economy. Butler paid the couple’s $230 bill — and just couldn’t stop.

He paid power bills for 20 people, not stopping until he had doled out about $2,000.

“This was the anniversary of me being homeless and now I am putting smiles on other people’s faces,” Butler reported.

One woman’s power had been turned off at her home because she didn’t have the money to pay her bill. Butler not only paid the bill, but gave her more cash for her children, saying “your kids can’t open their presents on Christmas morning with no lights on… And now, they have more money for food or presents.”

According to Georgia Power clerk Genice Harris, everyone at the office was stunned. “I could tell it was spontaneous and he was smiling and people were like, ‘I can’t believe this.’ They actually started taking pictures with this guy,” Harris said. “There really is a God and…. He does send people to help others that are in need,” Harris said.

“I have been there and done it, been close to eating out of trash cans….I was the one on the street with my hand out asking for some change,” Butler told ABC News. “God put me in that predicament, so that one day I could help others.”Butler, 45, is a two-tour veteran from the Iraq war who suffers from PTSD/

Butler has written a book about living with PTSD and he has a website to promote his efforts advocating new programs for disabled veterans. In his book, “PTSD: My Story, Please Listen!” he writes about returning home and falling on hard times.

“Just because we have PTSD, doesn’t mean we are not good people,” Butler said. “We come back from fighting in a war and we can’t get a job… It is hard to tell your kid that ‘I can’t support you because I am homeless after fighting for our country.'”

Butler has now gotten the help that he needs. He gets counseling through his church, has reconnected with his kids, and owns his own home. He is even about to get married.

“One night I prayed and I asked God, ‘can you reveal to me my wife?’ And he said, ‘Yeah stupid, you sit next to [her in ] church every Sunday’….God works miracles and wonders every day,” Butler said.

Butler has shown his Good Samaritan heart before. He once bought haircuts for 200 homeless vets and the people of his community.

So what will Butler’s next good deed be? “Me and God are going to talk about that,” he said.

[Image from ShutterStock]

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22 Responses to “Former Homeless Man Pays It Forward”

  1. Ellen Vaughan

    This is so wonderful. To all those who helped him with change, see what kind of pay forward you established!

  2. Lisa Peck Smith

    AWESOME! My son served in the Iraq war and has PTSD and is trying to get help so I personally know what this man is going through. My son is only 26 years old and this is hard.It is VERY rough when you come back from a war and try to go back to daily life routines and working. My son tries to hold a job but it just seems TOO much sometimes. Praying for all Soldiers! Thank you Mr. Butler.

  3. Monnie Johnson

    Served two tours and was denied benefits. An ex president still collects a gov't salary for being a president and our soldiers fight for this country and they want get free healthcare!! SMDH

  4. Louise J. Mercier

    First of all Mr.Butler, THANK YOU for your service to this country and my sincere apologies on behalf of true patriotic Americans for letting you and other vets down when you came home. You are my new hero and make my favorite mantra "Paying it Forward", a living and breathing legacy of the true generosity of the human heart and spirit. God Bless you for your kindness to strangers. Merry Christmas!

  5. Denise Huggins

    You see there is still a GOD! Awesome and God bless him and his family. God sometimes put us through situations to make us better. Amen

  6. Tracy Hood

    God Bless you Mr. Butler. Merry Christmas and thank you for your service to our country.

  7. Lisa M Lutz

    thanks for your bravert snd service you did for this country. i to suffer from ptsd..keep up the great work..i personally thank you again God is with you…

  8. Donna Tarnef Pitzorella

    stop giving money to the illegals and help the AMERICAN'S that are having hard times,, God bless mr butler.

  9. Cheryl Huesken

    I'm going to pay it forward and buy his book…what an incredible human being!

  10. Bessie Terry

    hello mr.butler that was a very nice thing that you did for those peoples that you didn't even know god looks at the heart and u have a good heart and u will be forever be bless and u have a merry christmas and a happy happy new year 2013…………………………………..

  11. Nicole Cupps

    First and for most Thank-you for your services. Second I'm Extremely thankful that God was watching over you in your dark hours of depression & you were not successful in taking your own life! He had plans for you to pay it forward by you helping those familys in their time of need!!!! God bless you Mr.Butler & Thank-you for ALL of your services on the battlefield & off!!!

  12. Tammy Parker

    I commend you Mr Butler. That's how true Christians let God's light shine. Merry Christmas and may you continue to let God use you.

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