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Craigslist ad for 'unconditional love' sparks chain of kindness for homeless woman

When Francesca Murray volunteered to cook meals for Brice Royer, a man with an intestinal tumor, she never expected what she got in return.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

After being diagnosed with an intestinal tumor, Brice Royer was given some unique advice about treating his condition.

“A doctor told me that love and kindness is the world’s best medicine,” said Royer. “The problem is, I can’t buy love and kindness at the pharmacy, but I thought maybe I could give it away freely without expectation and kindness could help me heal.”

Homeless Mom gets surprise of kindness after selfless act
Royer initially surprised Murray with a two-month supply of groceries and 250 meals for the women living in her shelter. Once he learned that her time in the shelter would end in February, he was inspired to also raise money to build her a sustainable tiny home where she and her daughter can live.Brice Royer

In March 2015, Royer posted an ad on Craigslist, selling “unconditional love” for $0. After his post went viral, Francesca Murray, a homeless, single mother, read it and was inspired by Royer’s positive attitude and willingness to serve others.

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Murray reached out to Royer on Facebook, offering to come to his Vancouver, British Columbia, home and help by cooking meals for him. As the pair began to firm up their plans to meet, Royer learned of Murray’s homelessness, and was touched to hear that she often shared the groceries she could afford for herself and her daughter, Charlotte, 4, with the other women in her shelter.

Royer was touched by Murray’s giving spirit, and set up a fundraiser site hoping to raise $100 to provide a two-month supply of vegetable deliveries for Murray and her daughter. The site raised more than $2,000 and allowed Royer and his friends to arrange for 250 meals to be donated to the women at Murray’s shelter in addition to her two-month supply of produce.

Homeless Mom gets surprise of kindness after selfless act
Royer and his friends created a YouCaring fundraiser site to provide Murray and her daughter with groceries. The effort raised $2,000, allowing them to instead provide 250 meals to women living in Murray's shelter.Francesca Murray

“Because she is homeless and yet she wanted to help me, I was so inspired by her and wanted to pay it forward,” Royer told TODAY Parents. “I learned sometimes it’s those with the least who are often the most generous.”

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Royer also learned that Murray’s allotted time in the shelter ends in February 2016, leaving him and his friends looking for a way to find permanent housing for her. The group has started a new fundraising site, with the goal of raising $25,000 by Dec. 25 in order to build Murray and her daughter a sustainable tiny home, designed to run on solar power and eliminate electricity bills.

Royer shared all of these surprises with Murray in a video posted to the Gift Economy YouTube channel, a channel started by followers of Royer’s journey who are also interested in giving back.

Murray says that she and the women in the shelter where she lives have appreciated the deliveries of groceries that Royer has provided. And, she and her daughter are looking forward to the prospect of having a home of their own.

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Homeless Mom gets surprise of kindness after selfless act
Murray says her daughter, Charlotte, 4, has benefitted greatly from having the opportunity to deliver the donated food to women in their shelter. 'Sometimes she tells me, "Mommy, you do the talking and I will give the stuff myself, ok? You don't touch it."'Francesca Murray

“Charlotte is so excited to have our own home, and to know we won’t have to move around anymore,” said Murray. “When she saw how many people care for us, she was in tears and said, ‘Mommy, this was a wonderful day.’”