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Man who was homeless off and on lands job after donated suit

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Jan. 25, 2017 at 10:43 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Every day, people just want to get to work on time. The traffic. The noise. The rush.

Brian Smith would've given anything to have been part of it.

"In the blink of an eye, life can really take a turn on you quickly," said Smith.

Last February, he was let go from his job. Rent 30 days past due became 60, then 90, and eventually, he was homeless.

"Off and on, yes,” Smith said. “Staying in hotels, couches, cars — anything you can find.”

Almost a year and a 180 résumés later, and nothing.

"Rejection after rejection," Smith said.

A man can only take so much.

"These last 10 months, I've lost my faith in humanity, in God, in life,” Smith said. "There were many times when shotguns looked very tempting."

It was about as low as you can get, but Smith decided to at least make it to the new year. When he went on ksl.com to look for jobs, he saw a story KSL did on a Utah company giving suits to homeless people to help them feel confident during job interviews.

Utah Woolen Mills, a clothing store in Salt Lake City, is giving away hundreds of suits to those desperate for a job. For every suit the store sells this year, Utah Woolen Mills will donate a suit to a man committed to improving his life for the better, the company says on its website.

"The power of that first impression ... You can't put a price on confidence," said B.J. Stringham, president of Utah Woolen Mills.

Smith got the suit Saturday, interviewed Monday and got the job Tuesday.

"I didn't think it would happen to me, and it did, and I owe them so much," Smith said.

It's the first success story for this project.

"I hope he gets everything he wants in life," Stringham said.

This coming Monday, Smith just might be the only person smiling in the middle of the rush to get to work.

"I thank them from the bottom of my heart," he said.

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Alex Cabrero

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