The “Good Samaritan” who has made headlines all week is a Chicago REALTOR®!
After watching the weather report on Tuesday afternoon, Candice Payne, 5th Group Realty & Management, called her employees and told them not to report to work on Wednesday. With temperatures expected to fall below -20 degrees, Candice was prepared to stay in bed and watch TV.
Then it hit her.
In these record-low temperatures, there would be people and families, throughout Chicago, stuck in the cold without shelter or adequate heat; the very thought broke her heart. Candice immediately turned to her husband with an idea of paying for 20 hotel rooms for one night, to help at least 40 people get out of the cold and survive the brutal weather. Her husband agreed.
Then, a new problem presented itself. “How am I going to transport everyone to the hotel?” Candice asked herself. She went to Instagram, offering to pay any of her followers with a large vehicle who were willing to help.
Her post went viral.
Employees from Candice’s brokerage, Chicagoans and people from all over the world began to contact Candice, offering monetary donations and goods to assist in her efforts.
What was supposed to be a small effort, turned into a deed that ultimately paid for 60 hotel rooms, for 4 nights, and 3 meals per day per person. Additionally, Candice, and volunteers and sponsors from all over, were able to provide clothing and other necessities for the families in need.
“We had men, children with cerebral palsy, pregnant women, people on crutches. We were able to get all of them out of the cold for a little while.”
When the good deed caught media attention, Candice turned away news cameras initially. “I didn’t do this for publicity, and I didn’t want people who needed help to be exposed in that way.”
However, when media began calling this a deed done by a “Good Samaritan,” there was speculation that someone wealthy or famous began the efforts. That’s when Candice revealed herself. “I think it’s important to know that I’m a regular person who just wanted to help. It came as a surprise to people that it was a working black woman who began this.”
Another thing that Candice wants the public to know – the majority of those who received a room are people who just fell on hard times. “So many of us are just one paycheck away from being in the same situation. No one that I helped was looking for a handout. They wanted to know how they could work and pay people back for their kindness.”
What’s next? Although it started as a one-time effort, this good deed was just the beginning, Candice says.
“This has completely inspired me,” said Candice. “I buy and flip houses throughout Chicago. Now I want to buy, flip and provide housing for those in need. But this is two-fold. Getting them housing is just a short-term solution. I want to work with other entrepreneurs to help these people get jobs. They want to work. They just need a little help.”
Candice Payne is a southside Chicago native, a Chicago REALTOR® and the managing broker of 5th Group Realty & Management.
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