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Bubby Rose's coffee shop owner helps woman turn life around

03/05/2015 03:16 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT
A former homeless woman in Victoria, B.C., says the compassion and support of a cafe owner helped lift her out of poverty and turn her life around.

Darioush Diba doesn't usually give money to people asking for change in downtown Victoria, where he recently bought  Bubby Rose's Bakery and Cafe.

One morning he was walking past a young woman who was asking for change, next to her dog, when something about her canine companion caught his attention.

He looked at the dog, and the dog looked back. For a moment, they stared into each other's eyes.

Diba walked back to his cafe, deeply moved by the experience.

"I came here and I cried," he said. "I failed to be a good person."

Diba believed the dog was trying to communicate something to him about its owner's situation. He went back, gave the young woman $5 and told her to come by his cafe if she wanted a job.

The young woman, Taylor Sevigny, dropped by his cafe early the next morning. Diba offered her a job right away; all he wanted to know was if she had a social insurance number. He also helped her find a place to live.

Back on her feet

Sevigny started off as a dishwasher. Since then, she's made her way up to being a baker's apprentice. She credits Diba for helping her get back on her feet.

"It's nice when there's somebody like Darioush sees my situation and is like, I want to help her," said Sevigny.

"He's helped me significantly with this job and helping me get off the streets. It's really turned my life around dramatically."

Sevigny had been trying to find work, but she had gotten caught up in a cycle of poverty.

"It's kind of a hard situation trying to find work when you don't have a place," she said.

The only light in her life was her dog, Abby.

"She made a complete difference," she said. "I honestly think I'd be in a completely different place right now if I didn't have her."

Free from drugs

Sevigny said having Abby helped her keep away from drugs and offered her companionship when no one else would.

"She's pulled me through a lot of hard times when I was alone," she said.

Abby now stays with Sevigny's boyfriend when she's working. Sevigny and he had broken up, but they got back together after she started working at the cafe.

Sevigny said her coworkers have all been supportive.

"Working here really helps because everyone here is so positive and it keeps me mentally strong," she said.

"Things have really turned around for me."

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Bakery owner helps homeless woman turn her life around

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