Man who was homeless says job at Wilmington restaurant 'is magic'

Man who was homeless says job at Wilmington restaurant 'is magic'
Scott Allen works at Catch Seafood in Wilmington. (Source: WECT)
Scott Allen was living on the streets before a local ministry helped him find work and a new outlook on life. (Source: WECT)
Scott Allen was living on the streets before a local ministry helped him find work and a new outlook on life. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A wooden bench outside the New Hanover County Public Library served as Scott Allen's address for more than three months.

"I stayed under the bench, put out my sleeping bag," Allen said. "It was not a great time in my life."

In May, a family issue landed Allen on the streets, from the bench at the library to living under the Fourth Street bridge to finally a tent in the woods. He spent the last month in a constant struggle.

"People look at you differently," Allen said. "You are not taken seriously no matter what you do. Everything is a struggle. You feel so isolated with no sense of belonging."

Randy Evans with street ministry Walking Tall Wilmington saw something in Allen and provided him with an unexpected opportunity.

"I didn't expect anything was gonna come my way," Allen said. "I was feeling pretty defeated." said Allen.

With Allen's self worth at an all-time low, Evans asked Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Seafood if he would give the struggling man a chance at something better than living on the street.

"I noticed he was just trying to get to the next step and having a little trouble getting there," Rhodes said.

Rhodes had fallen on hard times early in his culinary career, and wanted to help Allen overcome an obstacle.

"I don't care how much money you have, how successful you are, a series of unfortunate accidents, and we could all be in the same place, in a transition," Rhodes said. "It doesn't matter who you are."

Now off the streets and in a boarding house, Allen works five to six days a week in the Catch kitchen, hooked on the love and generosity from his newfound work family.

"To have people like this open up their arms and welcome you in, they embraced me when I felt unembracable," Allen said. "That really feels good. The worst loneliness out here is a feeling of not belonging to anyone or anything, so this is magic."

It's a recipe for success that has not only changed Allen's life, but his entire outlook on life too.

"Having Scott on the team is a blessing," Rhodes said. "What it shows you is, even when we have a gray cloud that moves in on the sunshine, it's only temporary. Just keep on moving."

Allen has worked the last three months as a prep cook and a dishwasher at Catch. He hopes to take on more responsibility at the restaurant in the coming months.

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