Texas native David Casarez has been sleeping on a park bench in San Jose, California since June when his van was repossessed and he ran out of money.
Last year, the 26-year-old web developer left his job at General Motors in Texas and moved to California to pursue his dream of launching his own startup tech company.
After arriving at San Jose, he realized it was tough getting a foot in the door as an outsider. When his startup plans fell through and his 4-months-worth of savings were drained away, he knew he had to find a job—however, that wasn’t easy either.
With a degree in Management Information Systems at Texas A&M University, Casarez managed to get an interview with Apple but the position was filled internally.
“No one was hiring. I had an interview with Apple in January, but the job was filled interally,” Casarez told the New York Post.
Despite this, he was able to land a few freelancing jobs in web design and logo design but it was still not enough. In June he ran out of cash and his van—which he had lived in to save money on rent—was repossessed. Instead of giving up and returning home, he started sleeping in the park as he continued to pursue his dreams.
Desperate for work, he then began to think of innovative ways to get his name out there.
“I call it the power of broke mentality. You’re gonna do what you need to do to survive. That mentality kicked in,” Casarez told NBC.
On July 27, he donned a clean shirt and tie and made his way to an intersection in Mountain View with a hand-written cardboard sign and a stack of his resumes.
The sign read, “Homeless.”
“Hungry 4 success.
“Take a resume.”
While standing on the median, a passing driver, Jasmine Scofield, took notice of him. She asked whether she could take his photo and post it online, which he happily agreed to.
“Today I saw this young homeless man asking for people to take a resume rather than asking for money,” she wrote on her Twitter on July 27.
“If anyone in the Silicon Valley could help him out, that would be amazing.”
The post quickly caught the attention of the internet and Casarez became a sensation. It was retweeted over 131,600 times and had over 210,600 likes, at the time of writing.
Today I saw this young homeless man asking for people to take a resume rather than asking for money. If anyone in the Silicon Valley could help him out, that would be amazing. Please RT so we can help David out! pic.twitter.com/ewoE3PKFx7
— FullMakeup Alchemist (@jaysc0) July 27, 2018
“I didn’t expect this kind of overwhelming response,” she later tweeted.
What Casarez thought was a “make-or-break moment” turned out to be a complete success.
His inbox was flooded with messages of support and opportunities. He received more than 200 job offers after the unexpected publicity, reported the New York Post.
“Google reached out to me,” he told the Post.
“So many other companies. Pandora. A bunch of startups.
“A product manager from Bitcoin.com was wondering if I could work remotely of if I want to relocate to Tokyo.”
He added that things were now happening very quickly.
“I wasn’t expecting that kind of response,” he told the Post. “It kinda blew up.”
It is not clear which opportunity Casarez has decided to go for.
The 26-year-old said that he hopes that his story would inspire other people who are pursuing their dreams.
“Never give up. An opportunity is sure to come your way. Keep your head up high, and don’t be afraid to stand out. Don’t be afraid to be that pin drop in a haystack,” he said, reported NBC.