Zero to Coffee Hero: The Unforgettable Story of How This Man Turned His Life Around

Posted by Ruben Quizon on

"There we days when I was just ignored," a depressing thought made by Joseph McArthur, "and other days when people looked at me and just told me to fix my life. I think those days were harder than just being ignored.”

This 54-year-old coffee shop owner now gives out free coffee to the less fortunate because he used to be one of them.

“People think that those without a job spend their whole day at coffee shops wasting time on the internet and asking for change,” said Joseph, “but we browse the internet just as much as the normal person does and then we also try to find any sort of work!”

10 years ago, Joseph lived a simple and comfortable life. He was happily married, and worked in real estate. But then the housing market crashed and everybody seemed to lose their job. Some were able to recover, but others like Joseph weren’t that lucky. Things began to fall apart even more after his wife left him.

He spent years trying to find a stable job, and in the meantime worked smaller jobs just to keep going. Everybody seemed to lose respect for Joseph and his position.

“The fact of the matter is that people have one job and if they lose it, sometimes things can get very unlucky. If you bad things keep happening, it just becomes harder to get back up. Then what makes matters worse is that people start acting like they are better than you. It’s a lonely feeling.”

But then life finds a way…

It was March of 2015, Joseph McArthur found himself using the wifi at one of the coffeeshops in downtown Montreal. He still never gave up hope on getting his life together even though everything was against him.

“Some people were nice. But most of them just ignored me. I was treated like I wasn’t even there,” McArthur mentioned in an interview.

Joseph was getting desparate and would spend hours at that coffee shop trying to find work. Eventually the manager of the coffee shop, Peter Frantz, had enough. And instead of telling Joseph to leave, which he had done plenty of times. He invited him to work as the janitor.

“Well, he showed up here every single day. I figured that was enough dedication and commitment to start working here. And if you can’t get rid of them, might as well put them to work,” laughed Peter Frantz.

In just one week, Joseph McArthur went from a zero to a coffee shop hero and his story caught lots of attention. He got a haircut, a shave and when his first paycheck came, he did something that not everyone does. He bought everyone in the shop coffee!

“It was the best day of my life” ~ McArthur

Now, the coffee shop hero story doesn’t even there. Now, he’s commited to help those who are less fortunate like he was.

Because according to Joseph, the life of the less fortunate isn’t as easy as you think. And ignoring those people doesn’t make the situation better. What he decided to do was even more noble.

Joseph McArthur vowed to give one free coffee to every homeless person in Montreal after purchasing the coffee shop that he once was a janitor for.
Once a homeless man, now a coffee shop owner

For normal people like most of us, we go through life living from paycheck to paycheck, giving every bit of hustle to catch up on our never ending bills. Then there’s the unexpected, a crisis that happens every time we thought we’re a little bit safer financially. So how can someone who used to be homeless be able to purchase his own coffee shop and give away free coffee to the less fortunate?

This guy has extended his generosity to more than one troubled person. In fact, he is generous to everyone.

He believes in something called "Radical Generosity". He believes the reason he has amassed such an incredible fortune is because he started out in business giving "too much". He didn't think it was "too much", but everyone around him thought he was crazy! And now, he's up to his time-tested mantra again.

“To get money, you must give money, especially to those who need and deserves it. It creates a loop of positive energy around you.”

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