Dunkin’ Donuts customer Suzanne Burke surprised Ebony Johnson, a Cincinnati, Ohio mother, with a fully-furnished apartment after she had been evicted.
According to TODAY, Burke, a loyal customer of the franchise, noticed when Johnson, who usually serves her at the Mount Healthy location, had been missing for some time in March.
When she finally came back to work, Johnson shared with Burke that she had been struggling financially and that she had been evicted from her home with her three kids.
“I wanted to give up,” Johnson said at the time. “I cried. I come to work every day, and nobody knows what I’m going through because I always try to have a smile for our customers.”
Burke then offered her assistance, as she is a social worker, to which Johnson accepted. After nine months, Johnson and her children moved into a fully-furnished apartment.
“Oh my God, it was so amazing; I just busted out crying,” Johnson said. “I never had a full furnished house. I never had help like this. I had been asking God to put us in a home before Christmas, and He really did. I’m just so thankful.”
“It was so exciting, we all cried,” Burke told the outlet. “I’ve got three kids, and I can’t imagine not having a home to go to and then to have to get up, get the kids to school, and show up at work with a positive, happy attitude? I’ve been in awe of her.”
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Johnson said that she hadn’t had permanent housing since they were evicted in March 2020 and were hopping from home to home with different family members.
“It’s been so much we’ve been through,” she said. “I just keep going. I think about my kids every day. I can’t give up because then what is going to happen to them?”
Now, Johnson is happy to be back at Dunkin’ serving her customers.
“I love Dunkin’,” she said. “When I get there, I’m happy because it’s my customers who make my day. I say, ‘Listen, I’m here to serve y’all and make y’all happy.’”
The Johnson family is excited to celebrate Christmas in their own home finally.
“Last year, we didn’t wake up to nothing,” Johnson said. “It was depressing and stressful. This year is going to be good because we’re in our home. I get to cook in my own kitchen for my kids.”
Johnson was able to secure the apartment through the help of the Cincinnati-based organization Strategies to End Homelessness. According to Kevin Finn, the money used to pay for Johnson’s rent comes from the organization’s program funded by private donors, the city of Cincinnati, and the United Way, the president & CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.
Burke helped Johnson furnish the apartment after learning she didn’t have any furniture. She contacted her friend Jo Potvin who owns Design to Market. This real estate staging company donated most of the furniture and the help of New Life Furniture Bank, which ensures household items are available to those in need.
Burke is now working on getting a car for Johnson to commute from her job at Dunkin’ since her new apartment is farther away.