Matt White was a man like any other. Be put his groceries in his cart one apple at a time, just like the rest of us. One night, while he was on his way back home after shopping at his local grocery store in Memphis, Tennessee, he encountered a boy who would change his life forever.
The boy would offer him something—a humble offer— and from that moment on, these two people’s lives would be intertwined. Keep reading to find out what happened next.
Meet Matt White
This is Matt White. At the time our story begins, Matt was a 30-year-old college graduate who studied the music business. Every week, he would go to the grocery store to pick up food and general supplies.
His grocery store of choice was a Kroger located in an upper-class part of an otherwise poor area of Memphis, Tennessee. On this particular day, Matt went to the grocery store, paid for his items as usual, and started to walk towards the exit.
A Chance Encounter
As Matt was exiting the Kroger, a teenage boy started walking towards him. Matt noticed that the boy was alone and that he looked sort of sad and ashamed.
The two strangers made eye contact and a whole bunch of scenarios rushed through Matt’s head. He wondered if this kid was a beggar, or if he just wanted to ask for directions. Then the boy opened his mouth and started to speak.
Meet Chauncy Jones Black
The boy introduced himself as Chauncy Jones Black. He was 16-years-old at the time and he had traveled by bus to the “rich people’s Kroger” hoping that he would find somebody who would let him work for food.
Black was willing to work for his supper— he wasn’t just asking for spare change. He needed to catch the last bus home in an hour, and he asked Matt for some sympathy.
Any Job Would Do
Chauncy Jones Black looked underweight. Matt later said that “he looked ashamed, hungry, and broken.” Chauncy told Matt that he would literally do anything for a bite to eat. He offered to carry Matt’s groceries to the car for him in exchange for a box of doughnuts.
Later Matt said, “In my heart, I screamed a loud ‘yes!’ But to him, I just chuckled and said, ‘yeah dude, we’ll get you some doughnuts.'”
The Start Of Something Amazing
Matt White felt terrible for Chauncy Jones Black. He couldn’t believe that this kid was in such rough shape that he was begging for a box of doughnuts. He wondered about his life and how he got to this point. Matt started asking Chauncy some questions.
Chauncy said that he lived with his mother and that they didn’t have very much money. All he had on him was a bus pass and the clothes on his back. The two strangers started walking towards the doughnuts.
Chauncy didn’t know it yet, but he was in for a big surprise. Keep reading to find out what happened next.
Matt White Went Above And Beyond
Matt got Chauncy a pack of doughnuts, but he felt like that wasn’t enough. There was a boy here asking for his help and he didn’t just want to send him away with a box of sugary treats.
Matt knew it wasn’t his responsibility to feed Chauncy, but he liked that Chauncy was willing to work for what he was asking for. White saw this moment as an opportunity to help a kid in need.
A Generous Shopping Spree
Matt and Chauncy continued to talk as they walked around the grocery store. Matt led Chauncy down different aisles, loading up his cart with all kinds of household staples— everything from cereal and snacks to produce, pasta, milk, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.
Chauncy couldn’t believe what was happening. He was thankful to Matt for helping him out in his time of need, and for doing it so casually like it was no big deal at all.
Matt was about to learn something about Chauncy that would completely shock him.
Chauncy Jones Black Was Motivated To Change His Circumstances
While the two strangers-turned-friends were talking, Matt poked more into Chauncy’s personal life. He asked him how school was and how his mother was doing.
When Matt recounted this story, he said, “all the while we talked and he told me how he makes straight A’s in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent. This kid was amazing.”
Chauncy Wanted To Pay It Forward
While Matt and Chauncy were speaking, Chauncy kept referring to himself as “poor.” White knew that Chauncy didn’t have a lot of money, but he noticed that “poor” was part of Chauncy’s identity.
Chauncy told Matt that his goal was to become a rich entrepreneur. Once he makes a fortune, he wants to give back to other people in his neighborhood and buy them groceries like Matt was doing for him.
Now Chauncy Had To Get Home
Matt paid for Chauncy’s grocery’s Chauncy thanked Matt, and Chauncy thought that was going to be the end of their interaction. Chauncy had to catch the last bus back home to get to his mother before she started to worry about him.
Matt decided that he couldn’t watch this kid try to carry all of those groceries home on a bus. Matt offered to drive Chauncy home. He was going to finish this thing that he started.
What Matt saw next completely took him by surprise.
Chauncy’s Living Conditions
Matt said, “I gave [Chauncy Jones Black] a ride home so that he didn’t have to take the bus and when we got to his house I was truly humbled.” Matt quickly realized that Chauncy wasn’t exaggerating when he said that he didn’t have any food at home.
Matt continued, “They had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing.” There was something else about Chauncy’s house that particularly disturbed Matt.
Meet Barbara Black
When Matt got to Chauncy’s house, he met Chauncy’s mother, Barbara. Matt noticed how kind and gracious Barabra was. She was genuinely thankful for what Matt did for Chauncy. Barbara also seemed to be fragile and in pain.
Barbara had a condition that caused her to shake all the time. It made it difficult for her to get around on her own. Matt realized that there was more he could do to help this family.
Matt Had A Plan
Before Matt could do anything else, he had to help Chauncy and Barbara unpack the groceries. Chauncy looked so happy to be home and to receive all of the groceries. Matt said that “he looked like a kid again.”
The Black’s refrigerator was now full, and Matt said goodbye to Chauncy and Barbara. He gave each of them a hug and headed out. Chauncy didn’t know it yet, but that wouldn’t be the last time he saw Matt White.
Matt Wanted To Make A Real Difference
After Matt left Chauncy’s house, he couldn’t get the Black family out of his head. He started asking around about Chauncy and his mother, and what he learned really troubled him. Apparently, these two were barely getting by on Barbara’s disability checks.
Chauncy hadn’t bought new clothes in years. Matt realized that the groceries would only last for a week or so, and he wanted to make a real lasting difference in the lives of these two people.
Matt Needed Others To Help The Family
Matt White lived a comfortable life. He had enough money to buy groceries and to afford his own place. But he didn’t have enough to really make a lasting impact on Chauncy’s life all by himself. Matt decided to use social media to reach out to others who could also help Chauncy.
He shared the story about his encounter with Chauncy on Facebook hoping to inspire others the way Chauncy had inspired him.
What happened next is going to completely restore your faith in humanity.
Matt Started Developing His Plan
Matt White hoped that all of the attention his Facebook post was getting would turn into tangible donations for Chauncy and his mother. Matt attached a GoFundMe page to his Facebook post so that people could donate to Chauncy’s cause. The page included information about Chauncy’s size in clothing and shoes, but it also included a video interview with Black where he talks about his life story.
Viewers quickly fell in love with Chauncy and how motivated he is. All of that love translated into financial contributions to the GoFundMe page.
What Were They Going To Do With The Money?
The GoFundMe account was quickly picking up traffic. Donations kept coming in and Matt and Chauncy were getting very excited. They started coming up with a plan for what they were going to do with all of the money.
Matt wanted to raise enough money to get Chauncy a lawnmower so that he could earn some cash by cutting lawns in the summer. Then he would have some money when he started tenth grade in the fall.
The Money Just Kept Coming In
Matt’s Facebook post kept picking up more traffic. It looked like this story was going to go viral. Total strangers started offering all kinds of things to Chauncy, including food, clothing, dental care, and even jobs. At this point, White’s Facebook post was shared 14,000 times and commented on 3,500 times.
White was starting to think that he should raise his goal on GoFundMe. Why stop at a lawnmower when he can get Chauncy a college education or even a new home?
So How Much Money Did They Raise?
So we already know that the post got a lot of likes and shares, but exactly how much money did they raise? Well, eventually, $340,000 poured in for Chauncy and Barbara. Barbara was ecstatic. As a single mother who raised Chauncy on disability checks, this money was life-changing for her.
Barbara said, “I did the best I could. The past few years, Chauncy has been taking care of me. He’s a good boy. I couldn’t ask for better.”
Barbara couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen next.
Matt Created A Movement
Matt turned the GoFundMe page into a whole movement that he called “Chauncy’s Chance.” Pretty soon, all of the major news networks were talking about this story. People started recognizing Chauncy on the street.
Chauncy told People magazine, “It’s so awesome – my life has been completely changed. I can’t go anywhere now without people recognizing me. They go, ‘Oh, my God, you’re Chauncy!’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I’m very happy and very grateful to everybody.”
Fame Isn’t Always A Good Thing
The news coverage didn’t exactly turn Chauncy into a household name, but a lot of the people in his neighborhood now knew that he had a lot of money. Chauncy didn’t exactly live in a safe area, and he and his mother really had to be careful.
Chauncy said, “My relatives were like when you get some money can you help me, asking for help in business and all that kind of stuff.”
Chauncy Needed Help Managing All That Money
$340,000 is a lot of money to receive all at once. Matt and Chauncy wanted to make sure that the Black family could make that money last.
White said that he and the Black family were going to get in touch with a lawyer “so that they take the least amount of hit on taxes. So it’s set-up in a trust and not at risk of anybody trying to come and claim it.”
Matt White’s Motivation
If you’re wondering why Matt would take time out of his busy day to help another family, you’re not alone. It seems like a stretch that one person would go above and beyond like this. It turns out that White is a practicing Christian and his faith is a big reason why he took it upon himself to help the Black family.
White thanked a higher power for stepping in and using him as an agent to help Chauncy and his mother. Matt said, “In every sense of the word, God has provided.”
But Matt’s mission still wasn’t over. Keep reading to find out what happened next.
A Call To Action
Chauncy Black got the opportunity of a lifetime. Matt said that instead of praising him, people should “look for Chauncys out there.” There are so many ways you can make a difference in someone’s life.
“The focus of this is not me and what I did, because I really didn’t do anything. I just captured a story and put it online, but our community, Memphis, picked up this family and put them on a platform,” White said.
Chauncy And Barabara Give Matt A Lot Of Credit
Even though Matt believes that everything that happened for Chauncy because of God, Barbara and Chauncy know that Matt put this plan into action.
“He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Chauncy said. “Nobody ever cared more than he did.” “He’s family, that’s what he is,” Barbara added. “He’s in our lives forever now. He’s family.” Barbara and Chauncy are also grateful for everyone who donated their money and time to Chauncy’s cause.
This Wasn’t Matt’s First Good Deed
Matt White has made a habit of doing nice things for other people. Charity work is kind of his thing. His whole Facebook page is full of evidence that he’s dedicated his life to helping children in need. Even when he’s not directly involved in a charity project, he still shares charity success stories on his page.
Matt has found a way to use social media for good. Chauncy Black isn’t the first person White opened a GoFundMe page for.
This Is Matt White’s Calling
A couple of years earlier, Matt set up a GoFundMe account for a blind bottle collector. Matt just ran into this man by chance in one of the rougher areas in Memphis. The man’s name was JB Kibbler and he was digging through the trash for cans so he could feed his daughters and granddaughters.
The GoFundMe that Matt set up for JB Kibbler eventually brought in $36,000. That money made a huge difference for JB and his famliy.
Making Memphis A Better Place
According to a University of Memphis report, as of 2017, Memphis was home to the largest share of poor people out of all of the larger American cities. The poverty rates are even higher for the African American community.
Dr. Elena Delavega, a professor at the University of Memphis who produced that poverty report, said that the alarming poverty rates are due to a low minimum wage, transportation issues, and a number of other factors.
Making A Positive Change
Children bear the brunt of the city’s issues with poverty. Delavega said, “What that means and I want you to think about it, is that when you see a child walking down the street, when you see a child, there’s a 50-50 chance […] that that child is living in poverty.”
That statistic is extremely troubling, but people like Matt are out there trying to make a difference. There can be change if we all work together.
The Good Side Of The Internet
GoFundMe is a for-profit online fundraising tool. It’s a way for people to quickly and efficiently raise money for important causes online. The thing is, this company does take a cut of the money. They take 5% of all donations, plus a 2.9% processing fee. The company has to make money somehow.
Even though GoFundMe is a for-profit endeavor, it can be a very useful tool for people who want to collect money from a large group of people. Matt White used GoFundMe, and look what he accomplished.