This Homeless Man Went Viral for Handing Out Résumés — Why Was He Different?
Why do we ignore other homeless people?
A tweet about a homeless man asking for people to take a résumé as he stood by the side of the road was posted on Friday, July 27, and very quickly went viral. The story is inspirational, and reportedly yielded numerous job offers, but the meme raises the question of why this homeless individual was lifted up, while others are passed by every day without the same level of support.
The man in the photo, David Casarez, was snapped and put on the internet by Jasmine Scofield after she spotted him while driving in Mountain View, California, on Friday, CBS News reported.
Casarez was dressed nicely, and holding a sign that read, “Homeless, hungry 4 success. Take a resume.” He’s now famous on the internet, and the New York Post reported on July 28 that companies like Google, Pandora, Bitcoin.com, and others have reached out to him since his story blew up.
But what is it about Casarez’s story, and Scofield’s posting about it, that has drawn so much attention? After all, according to a recent estimate, there are 553,742 people in the United States experiencing homelessness on any given night, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reports.
Surely, many of those hundreds of thousands of individuals deserve to get good job offers, too. It’s true that Casarez’s résumé is impressive — he began working at General Motors after he graduated in 2014 from Texas A&M University with a degree in management information systems, and his résumé, included in the viral tweet, shows that he has extensive experience in web development and quality assurance. But it’s this exact privilege that should leave us asking why our culture assigns more human interest in this man’s story than in those who may not have had access to such resources.
Is it Casarez’s initiative that made him go viral? People talking about the sighting on Twitter definitely seemed to like that he was looking for a job instead of money.
Or was it simply Casarez’s appearance in the photo? He was wearing a buttondown and tie — setting him apart from other homeless people. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that a lack of “clean, well-fitting clothes and shoes causes great hardship” for the homeless. Specifically, the Coalition pointed out that a poorly dressed person has “little chance for success” when it comes to job interviews.
Of course, none of this means Casarez didn’t work hard, and doesn’t deserve recognition for his hustle. And certainly, if Casarez does land a job with a tech giant, that doesn’t mean his problems are over. After all, you can work in Silicon Valley and still end up having trouble making ends meet. But he might have a better chance of even getting to the point of landing a good job in Silicon Valley precisely because of his background and his ability to look the part.
Casarez’s journey to this point is its own dystopian tech-world saga. The New York Post reported that Casarez decided to cash out his 401(k) and drive to Silicon Valley to follow his dreams of starting a tech startup. The fact that he had a 401(k) to cash out and the ability to drive several states to follow his dreams means Casarez was in a better position than a lot of people, but also that he was willing to toss security in the wind to follow in the footsteps of America’s new giants.
Ultimately, this is a “feel good” story, and the fact that Casarez now has so many opportunities available to him thanks to a viral tweet is not a bad thing at all. But, it’s important to note how Casarez’s position may have helped him to end up on Twitter compared to many other homeless people who deserve a chance and to have access to opportunities to succeed as well.