If a convenience-store clerk helped someone in need and ended up infuriating her boss and risking her job, you’d forgive her for wondering whether the good deed was worth it.
But I doubt that thought ever crossed Ava Lins’ mind. The 19-year-old woman was working her shift recently at a 7-Eleven in Salem, Massachusetts, when a homeless man came in to escape the freezing cold. Ava felt for him, and poured him a one-dollar cup of coffee.
Her boss caught her in the act of kindness, so to speak. Ava realized he was angry and tried to cover her tracks – first by insisting the homeless man had paid the buck, then ponying up the money herself. (Friends, we at 50 Good Deeds don’t condone fibbing, especially to direct supervisors. But we do condone hearts in the right places.)
In any case, her boss wasn’t buying it. He promptly took Ava off the upcoming work schedule, and openly contemplated sacking her.
But Ava was convinced she’d done the right thing. So she lodged a complaint with 7-Eleven headquarters. At first, she got no response. Then she posted it on the 7-Eleven Facebook page. That’s when the story started to take off, eventually making the mainstream news.
The result? Ava was offered her shifts back at the store, and received reassurance that she wasn’t fired. But she also received something more: hundreds of messages of support. Plus a bunch of better job offers. One came from an organization that assists homeless people. As its spokesperson explained to a reporter for Boston Magazine: “After demonstrating the core values and beliefs of restoring hope and dignity to people who are homeless, we knew Ava would make a perfect fit for our organization.”
Ava took the job. “I’m extremely overwhelmed by the support, and really thankful,” she told the reporter.
Not every story like this gets into the news, mainly because most people don’t get canned from their jobs for being nice (unless you work as, say, a prison guard or a dominatrix). In other words, lots of free coffees go under the radar. So kudos to Ava for her kindness, but also to all you other generous java-gifters out there. You know who you are.