Life
Man takes former teacher who’s homeless out for breakfast with ulterior motive
He thought his former student was just being kind but the 77-year-old didn't know just how kind he would be.
Jessica Adler
09.23.21

If you’re looking to find homeless people, you don’t have to go far these days. Sadly, people can be found living on the streets in just about every city and small town in America.

While everyone knows homelessness has reached a new level of prevalence in the last couple of decades, few people stop to ask themselves how an individual ended up there. Even fewer stop to ask the individuals themselves.

Little do people know, you don’t have to be a drug addict or mentally unstable to wind up on the streets.

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There are people like all of us out there, people who once had perfectly normal lives, who never did drugs, who are not gamblers, who don’t suffer from mental illness, yet life was harsh on them.

Some of them simply lost their jobs and had debts that they couldn’t pay, others were kicked out by their family for various reasons.

It’s always a somber affair to see people in such dire straits.

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Now, imagine finding out one of your former teachers had ended up homeless.

How would you feel about it?

Devastated. That’s how Steven Nava felt a few weeks ago, when he found out his former teacher, Jose Villaruel had been homeless since last year.

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Nava saw Villaruel by chance and, when he realized that his former teacher was in a difficult situation, he decided to do whatever he could to help him, just like Villaruel once had helped him.

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“I usually see him almost every single day and it got me thinking, ‘I’ve got to talk to him and know his situation.’ I was just devastated and gutted for the reality of the pandemic and how it has left teachers without a job and this is one of the results and it’s sad to see one of your own teachers go through that so it only makes you want to help out more,” Nava told Fox11.

Villaruel, or Mr. V, as his students used to call him, had been a substitute teacher for decades in Fontana, California.

When the pandemic hit last year and distance learning was introduced, the 76-year-old at the time decided to resign.

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“I decided the school situation has changed completely and I believed that a job of a substitute was over. In May, I submitted my resignation. I managed to do all of the paperwork, all of the arrangements to get my pension. I got my check, but that check didn’t last long because I had debts already,” he said.

Since then, the elderly man had been living in his car, which served as a means of transport, a dining room, and a bedroom for him.

But his former student knew this had to change.

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With an urgent need to help, Nava began a GoFundMe for Mr. V to surprise him on his birthday.

Last week, on the day Villaruel turned 77, Nava, along with the Mayor and several former students of Villaruel’s, surprised him with a $27,000 check and many gifts.

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The man was so happy he couldn’t hide his feelings.

“My initial thought was, ‘Am I dreaming?’ I still can’t get over this experience,” he said.

After realizing what had happened, Villaruel knew he would not be using the money just for himself, but to do some good for the community.

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“The greatest feeling that I have right now is like an obligation that I need to do a lot for the world and the greatest feeling is I can do it and I’m going to find a way to do it,” he said.

Mr. V’s statement is proof-positive that this world is better off for people like him.

See the touching reveal of Mr. V’s 77th birthday surprise in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jessica Adler
hi@sbly.com
Jessica Adler is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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