The “black” Santa Claus, whose real name is Curtis Butler III, spent his time last year sleeping in his car and waiting to die. He twice overdosed on pills and alcohol in an attempt to relieve himself of misery and loneliness after losing contact with his children upon returning to the United States after serving two tours in Iraq.
Butler, 45, was initially denied his military benefits, which lead to him having no income and having nothing at all — except a car and the clothes on his back. “I figured nobody cared about me,” Butler recalls. “I had to worry about paying bills. I didn’t love myself or anyone else.”
After struggling for quite some time, Butler finally received approval for his military benefits and began to turn his life around. Thanks to his struggle, 20 people standing in line at Georgia Power electric company were able to have their electric bill paid on Monday. As he stood in line to pay his own electric bill, he overheard a couple complaining about their $230 electric bill and offered to pay it for them. After paying their bill, he went on to pay the electricity bill for 19 other people, dishing out approximately $2,000 when he finished.
In case you’re wondering, Butler is not wealthy at all, but he felt compelled to do something for those in despair. “This was the anniversary of me being homeless and now I am putting smiles on other people’s faces,” Butler said. Genice Harris happened to be one of the 20 people standing in line to get her bill paid. When Butler heard about her electricity being cut off, he paid her bill and gave her money to purchase her children Christmas presents. He told Harris: “…your kids can’t open their presents on Christmas morning with no lights on… And now, they have more money for food or presents.”
Butler further illustrated his life that has drastically changed for the better in just one year: “I have been there and done it, been close to eating out of trash cans….I was the one on the street with my hand out asking for some change,” Butler told ABC News. “God put me in that predicament, so that one day I could help others.”
If you’re interested in supporting Butler, you can purchase his book that illustrates life with post traumatic stress disorder. “PTSD: My Story, Please Listen!” and can be purchased by clicking here. “Just because we have PTSD, doesn’t mean we are not good people,” Butler said. “We come back from fighting in a war and we can’t get a job… It is hard to tell your kid that ‘I can’t support you because I am homeless after fighting for our country.'”