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College students try to raise $75,000 for Wendy’s employee who lost home in fire

Students raising money for Wendy’s employee

(CNN) — When University of South Carolina student Robert Caldaroni heard that Wendy’s worker Malcolm Coleman had lost his home, he sprung into action.

He convinced his business fraternity to start a GoFundMe for Coleman, who works across the street from the business school in Columbia, South Carolina, according to the fundraising page. The goal is $75,000, and nearly $10,000 had been raised as of Wednesday night.

“Malcolm has gone above and beyond to care for students without expecting anything in return; now we have the opportunity to help out a friend in need,” Caldaroni explained on his Facebook page.

Coleman’s struggles began in January 2019, when the home he shared with his mother erupted in flames on his birthday, according to a Facebook post. They could not afford repairs due to a lapse in their insurance, so he and his mom have had to stay with friends and family since then, according to the University of South Carolina’s student newspaper.

“It’s just a charred block of a building,” said fellow fundraiser Alexis Braz after visiting Coleman’s house, “It broke my heart.”

Then, shortly after the fast-food worker lost his home, he lost his father, too, according to his Facebook page.

Braz says that the fundraiser is the least that students can do to help the man that always brightens their day. The GoFundMe page states that he tries to build personal relationships with all his customers, and will remember students names even if he has only met them a few times.

“I don’t think it’s possible to have a conversation with Malcolm without smiling at some point,” she added.

Coleman is incredibly grateful for the helping hand.

“I do not take any of these beautiful acts of kindness lightly or for granted,” the Wendy’s employee wrote in a post.

According to Coleman, this generous effort by Caldaroni, Braz, and others makes his 15 years as a fast-food worker worth the struggle.

“Working in fast food isn’t easy,” he wrote, “Sometimes you feel completely disregarded as a person. …. Thank you all ever so much for loving me for me and for valuing all that I do.”