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.”

  • Danielle Wuschke

    We need more people like this in our communities and working for public facing organizations. A little kindness and humanity will change our world!

    • Susan Blake

      A little kindness is good as long as it is coming out of your own pocket and not someone else’s. That’s the difference.

      • medartist01


        And for you, you have never done an act of kindness. I can tell by just reading your posts.

  • SusanFromMass

    Although this girl’s heart was in the right place, she really ought to have paid for the coffee before giving it to anyone. It wasn’t her place to give away her employers property. It would have been totally different if there was a store policy or if she made the decision to buy it for the man. I understand her boss, who is now under fire. You can’t have your employees giving away your products at their own discretion. I used to own a company and if my employees arbitrarily decided to donate service without my authorization they would have been in big trouble. What if your neighbor decided someone needed your possessions more than you do and gave them away without your knowledge or consent?

    • KenSanDiego

      As a business owner I would disagree with SusanFromMass. Your employees represent you and your business. You have to trust them to represent you in a favorable light under varying circumstances. In this case, Ava represented 7-11 as a caring, compassionate organization involved in their community. The operator however, confirmed the perception that 7-11 is a money grubbing money counter with no heart. Which one do want representing your company?

      • Susan Blake

        So if I worked at your place I could give away all the freebies I wanted to the less fortunate and you would be okay with it because I would represent your business as compassionate even though it hurt your bottom line? Let’s take a minute and really think about that, KenfromSanDiego

        • KenSanDiego

          Wow, talk about going extreme to make a point. We are talking about a single act of kindness, not throwing the doors open and yelling ‘free stuff!’. Grow up. p.s. SusanFromMass edited her original post that I responded to to make it less heartless.

        • medartist01

          Given away ALL THE FREEBEES? All? Where in the story did it stay there was proof that the employee was giving away the store?

          Um… it was one cup of coffee, Susan. Stick to the facts, please.

          I love it how you folks extrapolate one cup of coffee into 5 million cups. Ha. “Hurting the bottom line” by giving away one small cup of coffee to a homeless man.

          By the way, when you see the homeless on the street, Susan –– do you go up to them an kick them, or just spit on them?

    • Luke N

      Good comment, I would have fired her too.

      • JohnEngelman

        I’m sure you would have. You would have bragged about it too.

    • oorfenegro

      Companies should have a social policy to help the less fortunate.. Many large corporations have foundations in which they give millions of dollars to organizations that provide food and shelter to the poor. Certain professions, such as law, encourage lawyers and law firms to volunteer a certain amount of their time helping the less fortunate. I personally saw that philosophy in action while serving on an eviction trial in which the low income defendants were represented by Harvard and Berkeley educated attorneys who were volunteering to represent these defendants who otherwise otherwise would not have been able to afford attorneys to represent them (they won).
      Many retail corporations like 7-11 lack social policies to give back to the communities they serve, conversely these corporations throw away tons of food and drinks because after a certain timeframe they cannot be sold. Giving away products to the poor, particularly hot drinks in freeing cold weather is not only compassionate but also a tax deduction…

    • MaranathaMark

      Susan, I hope that you wouldn’t fire someone over a $0.30 cup of coffee. If she was handing out a gallon of it or so, I might agree. A GOOD manager, would have taken her aside and told her if she was going to give it away, she should pay for it first, and kept her on. If she continued to give stuff away, without paying for it, then fire her. The manager didn’t give her a chance to pay for the coffee, before he confronted her. If I were the manager, I would have given her about 10 minutes or so to make it back to the register and see if she paid for it, before I even confronted her about it. Again, a small cup of coffee doesn’t equate to a prized possession or an major crime. The manager, demonstrated POOR people-management skills in the way he over-reacted, and should be called on the carpet for it.

      • Susan Blake

        I don’t think it’s the .30 cup of coffee that sealed the deal, it was the fact that she got caught in a lie and is no longer a trustworthy employee.

        • medartist01

          Susan has never lied to her employer. Never taken a pen or a paper clip home. Never called in sick, when she wasn’t quite that sick. Never took a longer break, than allowed. Never went online while on the clock, never did anything that would breach the trust of her employer.

          Susan is perfect. That’s why she can sit on her high horse, and throw stones. She is –– Princess Susan! Way to go, girl. Throw them stones!

          Fired for lying? That’s small potatoes. Susan would say she should be executed. Hang her from a tree! Yeah!

    • Angel Mosley

      She did purchase the coffee for the man with her own money

      • Rigo

        after she lied about it.

        • John Rene Lastre

          Brilliant observation Inspector Javert.

    • Susan Blake

      I completely agree, Susan.

      • medartist01

        Ah, we have another colleague of the lady from Mass. The self-righteous, Susan Blake.

        And this lady is just mad. Got screwed in some recent legal matter, and is now dumping on anyone that she discovers to have made a “legal mistake“ ––– so she can rant. I bet she’s combing the blogs now, to find more folks to scream at. Ha.

        So, do you hit your children too, or just your husband, Susan?

    • medartist01

      One small cup of coffee to a homeless man, from one of many pots of coffee (being regularly dumped and re-brewed), Susan. Try again.

      Employer’s property? Are we going there now? ––– really?!

      It wasn’t a box of donuts, or a wrapped product. Not cash. Not even a sandwich. Just one small cup of hot coffee on a freezing cold night.

      Sometimes, I think folks need to re-evaluate the definition of what it is to “be human.” Susan, being human or “compassionate” for you it seems –––– has to be paid for in cash. It’s a monetary transaction with you people. Sad.

      You are truly pitiful.

      • Bruce Bochy

        “Homeless man returned the following day”

        That says it all folks

  • MaranathaMark

    Reading the original article about Lin losing her job, it sounded like the manager grabbed her and confronted her BEFORE she could pay for it herself. The way the article about her losing her job read, the coffee had barely left her hand when the manager grabbed her. I wasn’t there and I don’t know whether she would have paid for it or not, no one does at this point. A small cup of coffee cost the 7-11 about $0.25, maybe, if was some premium blend coffee, $0.30 for the small cup of coffee. So I doubt that would have broke them. If he had been a descent boss, he would have asked her if she was going to pay for it, and then told her to be sure and pay for it in advance, in the future if she elects to do this again. If the Manager had half a brain, he would have realized the “Good Will” generated by that act of kindness, far exceeds the loss of small cup of coffee. As far as her giving away the coffee, the last article I read said she was intending to pay for it, but didn’t have a chance before the boss confronted her and fired her. I don’t know about 7-11, but some store allow employees a ‘free’ drink during the day, it would be interesting to know how 7-11 looks at employees having a ‘free’ drink during their shift. If Lin had a line of folks, handing out dozens of cups of coffee and doughnuts, etc. I would agree with some folks rant about giving away employer’s merchandise. But this sounds like an extreme situation – the man was suffering from mild hypothermia the way the article I read related his condition, so it sounds like she did good, but should have advanced the payment for the coffee, before giving it to him, to save her job.

    • PFL1982

      25 cents? Probably more like a few pennies. Either way, I’m glad she landed on her feet.

  • Cyn Lee

    MAY THE FLEAS FROM A THOUSAND CAMELS INFEST YOUR ARM PITS, Romany Youseff who owns the 7-Eleven Franchise in Salem, Massachusetts! How about a little “FREE PUBLICITY” from the Good Hearted Americans???

    American Generosity is NEVER RETURNED by the Ungrateful People from Ungrateful Countries who we ALWAYS open our arms to….Not so much as a ‘cup-of-coffee’ (that cost you about 5 cents) to a homeless American.

    • Sean Cassidy

      agree! i mean, if it was an American denying coffee to a foreigner that would totally be justified, but this is a travesty!

  • senzie

    Alongside the story of this compassionate woman, let us not forget the store manager who angrily grabbed a human being and screamed at him…Why? because he didn’t see him as human but as less.

  • PFL1982

    I love to see the “good guys” (or “gals”) win… good for her!

  • Richard Villasana

    Heartwarming story of young woman caring for a cold, homeless man. Sadly, many homeless are former foster kids. 22% of foster children become homeless within 2 years of being forced out of foster care.

  • Phaerisee

    A true My Name is Earl moment 🙂

  • Kit Murphy

    Ava is kind and smart. She deserves nothing but the best for this small act of kindness. Additionally Ava is quite a beautiful name.

  • JohnEngelman

    I have had bar tenders pour me free drinks. I have had bar tenders give me money to put into the jukebox. They never got fired.