For many people, it can be easy to become desensitized to the problems of homelessness. Most would rather look the other way and move on with their day. But after hearing about a homeless man who cared more about making people smile than dollars and cents, magician Rob Anderson made it a point to meet him.
A six-year veteran of the US Army, Alan McCracken has been homeless for over 20 years. He’s slept under bridges, on the street, and at a number of homeless shelters. But he’s done it all with a smile, and he wants the people he meets to do the same.
Such an incredible spirit born out of misfortune had to be witnessed in person, and Las Vegas magician Rob Anderson wanted to find out for himself. While secretly taping the interaction, Anderson approached McCracken and asked to see his sign.
“I saw your sign there,” Anderson said. “It says anything helps? I want to help you out, but I need to see your sign.”
Anderson proceeded to draw dollar signs on McCracken sign with a permanent marker he produced from his back pocket. “It says anything helps, does that help?” Anderson asked him. “Not … really,” said a confused sounding Alan McCracken.
From there, Anderson proceeded to rip the sign into pieces. First into halves, then into fourths. Each time he tore the sign he would ask McCracken if it made his situation any better; the answer was of course, “No.” However, all throughout the process, McCracken kept a surprisingly positive attitude.
As Anderson continued to rip the sign into pieces, McCracken asked him if he could keep the magic marker so that he could make another sign. “Yeah, maybe,” Anderson replied as he neared the conclusion of his illusion.
“Are you one of those street musicians? Gonna turn that into a wad of money?” McCracken asked playfully.
To Alan McCracken’s amazement, that’s exactly what Anderson was doing. The magician shook out the sign, which had become magically pieced together again, and out fell a pile of cash.
“How did you do that?” an overjoyed McCracken asked. “How did you know?” replied Anderson.
Rob Anderson then helped pick the money up off the ground and handed it to McCracken. Little did either of them know that it would be the beginning of a long friendship.
Shortly after this video made the rounds on social media, Anderson put together a GoFundMe campaign and raised $40,000 for McCracken. Staying true to his philosophy on life, McCracken kept what he needed and forward the rest to others who were also in need.
Now living and working happily in California, you can bet that Alan McCracken is happy to know the money has found its way into the hands of other needy veterans.
With the excess funds available—thanks to the generous donations made by the GoFundMe supporters, Rob was able to help get another veteran and his family back on their feet.
Johnny Hicks is a veteran of the Gulf War who was laid off from his job. After missing time at work because of necessary surgery, bills began to mount, and his physical condition prevented him from finding more work. Their situation was growing dire.
Hicks is the father of four children and the head of the household. With only $1,200 dollars coming in from his monthly military retirement, it was a struggle to put food on the table. At the time they met with Rob, they weren’t sure how they were going to eat dinner that night.
Fortunately, they were able to get all the help they needed to see them through this rough patch.
Donations were able provide $1,000 cash, gift cards that will pay for six months of groceries, money for home repairs, and a check that covered their rent for an entire year. But the biggest surprise of all was waiting outside in the driveway.
After having lost a number of their personal items to a mold incident, Rob surprised them with a moving truck full of beds, bedding, and various forms of different furniture that had to be thrown away.
“This is everything you lost in your mold incident, and the things that you need right now,” Rob said as he lifted open the back of the truck.
Perhaps the greatest gift that Rob gave them that day, though, was a way to sustain their lifestyle. After pleading to help Johnny get back on his feet, he followed through. Johnny was able to find steady work and even buy a family car.
Thanks to the kindness of strangers, and the diligence of Las Vegas magician Rob Anderson, both Alan McCracken, and the entire Hicks family were able to live better, more stable and secure lives.