(This post has been updated.)
James Moss was pushing his toddler son in downtown Denver after leaving an overnight homeless shelter when Leon Logothetis spotted him. It was the exact chance encounter Logothetis had set out to find.
Moss, 35, had moved west in mid-October from New York City less than 48 hours earlier to create a calmer, kinder, fuller life for his two-year-old boy, Zhi. He had housing arranged, but it fell through, leaving him and his son homeless in a new city. But a few others had shown him kindness, paying for bus tickets and storing his belongings, and he was staying positive, fueled by his desire to be a good father. Still, it was a challenge.
“Most people don’t want to share their pain,” Logothetis said as Moss began to cry telling his story. “I want to say thank you.”
Then, in a video he shared of their meeting, Logothetis handed him $1,000. Moss, cradling his son in his arms, broke down crying. Logothetis said he’d also put Moss up in a hotel for a week.
“You’ve got to be joking, this isn’t real,” Moss said he thought in that moment. “It was just like, I would have never believed something like that was going to happen to me. My heart just dropped, it didn’t feel real.”
Moss, a working barber, was still staying in a shelter and didn’t have a car when Logothetis posted the video last week as part of the former stockbroker’s #GoBeKind tour. Since then, a stranger in Kansas started a GoFundMe page for Moss. It’s raised $35,680 so far. One lady in Texas sent a care package of toothpaste and other toiletries. A man called to offer him an administrative office job. A local Denver family offered him and his son a place to stay.
“This stuff feels like a dream right now,” Moss said in an interview Monday. He said he is planning to use the money to buy a car. That would mean, with winter near, he wouldn’t have to stand at bus shops in the wind and snow with his son. Or walk 30 minutes with him from one place to another.
This is what Logothetis does. Over two weeks this fall he visited six U.S. cities interviewing strangers about kindness on what he called his #GoBeKind tour. He’s partnered with travel Web site Trivago, which is documenting his journey.
“When I find that one person who has an epic story, who has received or given kindness, that’s when the $1,000 comes into play,” Logothetis said in a recent interview.
He explained that $1,000 is the amount that if used correctly can help someone get back on their feet. “It’s not a handout, it’s a nudge,” he said.
Before he got into the changing-lives business, Logothetis was a London stockbroker living what some might consider Western society’s dream.
And he was miserable.
“On the outside I had everything you could want and on the inside I had nothing you would want,” he said in a recent interview. “I felt like I was going down the wrong path.”
He quit his job and in 2012 hitchhiked around the world, relying solely on the kindness of strangers. He didn’t want to work behind a desk any more. So now he travels the globe inspiring others to look inward, determine whether they are living their fullest lives, and then figure ouit how to find their happiness.
Not everyone can up and quit their jobs like he did, he acknowledged that, but he said people can still make positive changes in their lives by facing down their fears and surrounding themselves with only positive people who won’t put them down. He’s a big proponent of human connection.
“Sometimes you need that one person to say you’re doing a good job, keep going,” he said. “Share your pain, it’s OK to share your pain, it doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human.”
In June, Logothetis is off to Africa to change some more lives.
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