The Lookout

Man offers strangers furnished home for a full year

The Lookout

Tony Tolbert, a 51-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, proves you don't have to be a millionaire to make a huge difference. Last week, Tolbert began lending his house to a formerly homeless family for a year while he moves back in with his parents.

Tolbert's story was profiled on "CBS This Morning." The Harvard-educated attorney explained that he was inspired by his father's generosity when he was younger. As a boy, Tolbert's father frequently let strangers with no place to go stay in their house. Years later, Tolbert decided to expand on the idea.

When Tolbert told his mother, Marie, about the idea, she said, "Have you lost it?" Tolbert insisted he hadn't. "You don't have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or Oprah," he said to CBS News. "We can do it wherever we are, with whatever we have, and for me, I have a home that I can make available."

[Related: Act of kindness turns into free coffee for hundreds of customers]

Tolbert hasn't met the people who are moving into his home. He told officials at the Alexandria House, a homeless shelter for women and children, that he wanted to loan his home to a family in need. Felicia Dukes and her four children were the lucky recipients. Before moving into their new home, Dukes and three of her kids were sharing one room in a shelter. A fourth child wasn't eligible to join them. Now, they are all together. "My heart just fills up and stuff. ... I'm just really happy," Dukes said.

Tolbert believes that, in his words, "Kindness creates kindness. Generosity creates generosity. Love creates love. And if we can share some of that and have more stories about people doing nice things for other people and fewer stories about people doing horrible things to other people, that's a better world."

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