FAIRVIEW, Ore. — Gas station owner Balwant Bhullar is doing what he can to help the homeless.
What he’s doing might look like a leap of faith to some, but he firmly believes that if you treat people like they have value and show them that you truly care, amazing things can happen.
Two of Bhullar’s current employees were homeless when he hired them.
Danny Boggs was homeless for six years before he was hired by Balwant. “He’s my superhero, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have a job, and I wouldn’t have a place,” Boggs said. He woke up one morning and thought something had to change. “I gotta pick myself up. Even if I have to have people help me, I gotta do this,” he said. Boggs has worked at the gas station for about six months. He’s on his feet and hustling for 10 to 11 hours a day. But he’s off the streets and sees a brighter future ahead of him.
Mike Romine has worked for Bhullar for almost two years. He was homeless just a year ago. Bhullar not only gave him a job, but he’s let him live on the property for free.
“They feel like nobody is taking care of me, nobody even cares about me,” Bhullar said. Some people might think hiring people who are homeless is taking a risk. But the way Bhullar sees it, showing a little bit of love and trust can make all the difference.
“Don’t push them away from the society. We have to pull them closer to us,” he said.
Bhullar immigrated from India when he was 19 to chase the American dream. Not only did he become a business owner, he’s also a Fairview city councilor. And now that he has the means, he feels it’s his duty to give back.
“America is the number one country in the world. And look where we stand? Our people, our brothers and sisters, they are on the street. That’s a shame,” he said.
Bhullar found Boggs and Romine through the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office’s Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement Team, or HOPE team.
By KATU Staff
Friday, April 8th, 2022