Unlike with previous Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winners, you’ve probably already heard of Candice Payne, the Chicago real estate investor who purchased 30 hotel rooms for homeless people during the polar vortex that turned Chicago colder than Antarctica. The story has gone viral. If you didn’t read about it in The New York Times or watch Candice tell her story on Ellen, you likely saw posts about it on social media.
Team Trophy Central realizes this heartwarming story doesn’t need any more publicity, but Candice’s act of kindness really touched our hearts. It epitomizes the very reason we started our Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign — not merely to reward acts of kindness, but also to inspire more kind acts. We believe that the more our hearts are touched by kindness, the more we want to warm others’ hearts with kindness as well. Kindness inspires kindness, and we want to keep passing the kindness on!
We love how genuine Candice’s act of kindness was. She decided she was going to stay warm and toasty in her home during the polar vortex rather than going into work, so called her assistants and told them to stay home as well. Then she got to thinking: What about the people who don’t have a home to stay in when it’s literally freezing out? As she mentioned on Ellen, many people are just one paycheck away from being homeless. Her own boyfriend used to be homeless. The stigma attached to being homeless — laziness, stupidity — is just plain wrong.
The Multiplying Power of Kindness
So Candice decided she would put a bunch of hotel rooms on her credit card, called around Chicago to find a hotel that was amenable to her plan (many hotels were not — they didn’t want to house homeless people — but The Amber Inn was more than happy to help) and purchased 30 rooms for a night.
She then went on social media to see if anyone could help her transport homeless people to The Amber Inn, offering to pay anyone who would assist, and suddenly a whole lot of help flooded in. Not only did people step up to help transport homeless people to the hotel; they also put up their own money. So what started out as 30 hotel rooms for one night turned into 72 rooms for five nights. Because of Candice’s act of kindness that spurred on more and more kindness, 122 homeless people were able to have roofs over their heads to save them from freezing.
That’s why we sent Candice a Random Acts of Trophy-ness trophy engraved with these words: The Unstoppable Force Award: Proving the (Multiplying) Power of Helping Those in Need.
Congratulations, Candice, on your trophy win! And thank you for your magnanimous good deed that inspired more and more acts of kindness!
Temporary Fix Inspires Permanent Solution
When Candice was on Ellen, she was presented with $50,000 from Walmart. Candice had purchased supplies for the homeless people she was helping at Walmart, and Walmart decided to reward her kindness with two separate giant checks (each for $25,000). Candice turned around and donated the $50,000 right into her non-profit. She had started her non-profit two years ago but hadn’t done anything with it yet. But her recent good deed inspired her to figure out what she wanted to do: use her real estate know-how to buy and renovate multi-unit buildings on the South Side of Chicago to house the homeless. She’s set up a GoFundMe campaign to help her achieve her goal. Candice says in an Instagram post that purchasing hotel rooms for the homeless was a temporary fix but her goal now is to find a permanent solution.
Four Years of Being Show Us Your Sue Strong!
We think that our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” namesake, Sue Heck (the perpetually optimistic and endearingly awkward character on The Middle) would be jumping for joy over all the good Candice is doing (and inspiring in others).
When we started our “Show Us Your Sue” campaign back in 2015, our goal was to find the Sue Hecks of the world, those who probably wouldn’t win a trophy under normal circumstances (Sue has never been the most athletic or the most talented) but who are beyond trophy-worthy in our eyes because they make the world a better place by being themselves. Sue Heck’s determination and optimism inspire others to persist in following their dreams. That is a HUGE feat and most admirable quality. One Candice Payne exemplifies.
But we are not through searching for Sues or giving out trophies! Do YOU know an everyday hero who makes the world a better place? Then please #ShowUsYourSue! Please nominate our next Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” winner in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag. We can’t wait to send out the next shiny trophy!