By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A south Minneapolis restaurant owner is getting a lot of attention for the way she responded to a homeless man who came in asking for money.

Cesia “Abi” Baires learned about work ethic at a young age. Her family, from El Salvador, taught her to cook. The 25-year-old opened her own restaurant in Minneapolis last year.

“I would always be here by myself,” Baires said. “Imagine doing dishes, register and cooking at the same time.”

Which is why two weeks ago, when a homeless man named Marcus came in asking for money, she questioned him.

“Why don’t you work?” she said. “You know that nothing is given to me for free, nothing is free in this world.”

Marcus told her no one would hire him. He said he was homeless and had a history of robbery and theft. Baires decided to take a chance.

“I’m thinking I have a lot of dishes in there and I’m like ‘Well Marcus, if you want to work I have a job for you’”, she said.

Before putting him to work doing dishes, Baires offered him a sandwich. He ate half, before giving the other to a woman outside.

“He got to me,” Baires said. “I was like, ‘This man has nothing.’ That touched me a lot.”

Marcus worked the full day. Baires told him to come back the next day. He did, again and again. She said he walks from a shelter in downtown Minneapolis.

Baires posted a photo of Marcus to Facebook last weekend sharing his story. The post has gone viral. She also started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Marcus find a place to live

Baires says she doesn’t know why she decided to give Marcus a second chance, but felt it was right if he wanted to earn it.

“Being out on the streets is not life,” she said. “If you have life and you can give that to someone else why not do it.”

Kate Raddatz