Salem Woman Who Lost Her 7-Eleven Job for Giving a Homeless Man Coffee Got a New Job the Next Day

Ava Lins went from 7-Eleven clerk to administrative assistant, just like that.

When Ava Lins was taken off the schedule at her job at 7-Eleven in Salem for giving a homeless man a $1 cup of coffee without charging him, she never imagined that within 24 hours she would land a new, full-time position helping people in need.

“Good deeds really do pay off,” said Lins, who was set to begin her new gig at a transitional housing organization, Citizens For Adequate Housing, in Peabody, on Wednesday. “I never would have imagined it. I’m pretty excited. My mom is really proud of me. She has been really supportive, and my boyfriend is really supportive as well.”

Lins, 19, claims that her former convenience-store boss, Romany Youseff, took her off the schedule this week after he caught her giving away a free hot coffee to a homeless man who came into the store after sitting outside in the cold without a place to go.

Lins told her boss the man paid for the coffee, and later admitted that he didn’t. Then she coughed up the money on her own, she said. But it didn’t help, and her shifts were removed from the schedule, she said.

First, Lins contacted 7-Eleven’s corporate offices to complain. Then, she resorted to posting her complaint on their Facebook page after she didn’t receive a reply from the company. That post quickly spread on Facebook through friends and family before she finally reached out to the media. “I contacted the news, seeing if they could get some answers. I did an interview, and it went from there,” she said.

Boston has reached out to 7-Eleven’s corporate offices.

At first, Youseff told Channel 5 that he was “considering firing” Lins. But after the story about her predicament aired on television, Youseff started getting bombarded with angry phone calls, and he changed his tune. “I don’t have any problem,” he later told Channel 5. “I told her it’s OK. Everyone forget it. It’s OK.”

7-Eleven’s Facebook page was also hit with a barrage of angry posts, some of which were deleted by the company, according to people who posted on the page. “You can remove my posts about the 7-Eleven worker until you’re blue in the face. I assure you that others will only repost it,” one person wrote.

Youseff told Lins that she could come back to work, but it’s too little, too late.

For Lins, all the media attention led to a flood of emails and job offers at other organizations and businesses, including Citizens For Adequate Housing. “I didn’t expect it was going to blow up this much. I have gotten, like, 400 emails and 2,000 comments on the original post online,” she told Boston. “In one day, everything changed. I had hundreds of people contacting me directly about jobs, and saying thank you. It was overwhelming.”

Even though Youseff offered to put Lins back on the schedule, and denied ever wanting to fire her when he did a follow-up interview with Fox 25, Lins decided it was best to move on, and so she handed in her resignation letter and accepted the position as an administrative assistant with Citizens For Adequate Housing.

The job is fitting considering her act of kindness—giving a homeless man a free cup of coffee—is along the lines of the mission at Citizens For Adequate Housing, which focuses on fighting to end homelessness by setting up families with temporary places to stay. “After demonstrating the core values and beliefs of restoring hope and dignity to people who are homeless, we knew Ava would make a perfect fit for our organization,” said a company spokesman in an email to Boston. “We brought her in the day after we heard about this story. Ava is driven, compassionate, and has an incredible life story. Match that with the skills we were looking for to help us with various HR, fundraising, and operations duties, and we feel like everything really does happen for a reason.”

Lins said she was grateful. “During the interview, they told me that they admired what I had done, and it that I was the perfect kind of person they wanted working at their company,” said Lins. “Out of all the job offers, this was the best for me. I’m extremely overwhelmed by the support and really thankful.”


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com


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