Christian Abate was majoring in education at Temple University and wanted to become a teacher. But because of financial pressures, he dropped out of school and put his education on hold for a few years.
Abate worked as a busboy for eight years at Saloon, an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia. He became friendly with one of the regular customers, Charles Barkley
, an ex-Philadelphia 76ers basketball player and currently working with TNT Sports.
Last summer, during one of his visits to Saloon, Barkley asked about Abate’s teaching career. When Abate said he dropped out because of lack of finances, Barkley felt sorry for him.
Instead of giving him a tip, Barkley said he will pay for his tuition fees. Abate was hesitant at first and Barkley told him that he needs an answer by the end of his meal. Abate accepted Barkley’s offer.
Barkley told Philly.com
: "He's a nice kid…He was working with kids, I loved that he wanted to be a teacher, and I wanted to help him."
Abate was very happy and he said he will be forever grateful to Barkley for giving him a second chance in life. Abate will graduate next May.
Barkley also has given $1 million to his Alabama high school Leeds, another million to Corningstone High in a poor area in Birmingham, Alabama and $1 million to Auburn University.
Thanks to Barkley, Abate will be able to help hundreds of students and shape their careers.