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Stranger offers homeless man either coding lessons or money, but not both

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Leo Grand is a homeless man in New York City. A complete stranger walked up to Grand on the street in August and offered him either coding lessons or 100 dollars, but not both. Grand chose the coding lessons. That spontaneous choice may have changed his life forever. On Dec. 10, Grand’s first mobile application (app) went live for Android users, according to a report from Mashable.

The stranger was 23-year-old programmer Patrick McConlogue who offered Grand one-hour lessons daily for two months. He gave Grand a used Chromebook with some text books on Aug. 26 to start his educational journey. The lessons passed the initial two month time period he gave Grand and ended four months later when “Trees for Rides” launched.

McConlogue’s boss, John Katzman (founder of The Princeton Review) had a role in helping Grand in his quest. Katzman let the two men use office space and allowed McConlogue to work full time with Grand during the last five weeks before the app was launched.

Choices are influenced by immediate human needs.

The choices individuals make in life can have a dramatic effect later, as in Grand’s case. Chances are he won’t be homeless in the near future with his choice to accept coding lessons over money.

But not all disadvantage people can make spontaneous choices that would benefit them long-term. The basic human needs may over-ride a homeless individual’s insight, such as hunger.

A hungry person may have chosen the 100 dollars to satiate their immediate hunger needs. Educational lessons can help for future gain but the immediate need for food is also an acceptable choice for vulnerable populations in dire situations.

Grand, McConlogue and Katzman should be applauded for their combined efforts to better one homeless man’s life. It was fortunate Grand apparently did not have food on his mind at the time McConlogue approached him or there may not have been a success story to share with the public.

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