The number of homeless people has increased so much that it is hard to walk about a town or city without encountering at least one of them. Figures dressed in old haggard clothes, with tin cups in front of them to beg for money, or coiled up in an effort to keep warm. They never fail to invoke a deep reaction in us, prompting many, but not all, to offer help. Many homeless people depend on the kindness of others.
One such homeless man decided to try his luck in a Murfreesboro, Tennessee Chick-fil-A, if only for scraps of leftover food. Little did he know that he was in for a surprise. The manager would do something so unexpected that it had an impact on all who were present at the restaurant that day.
Joey Mustain was enjoying a routine father-daughter date with his little girl when he happened to witness the compassion of the Chick-fil-A manager. He was so moved that he relayed details of the story in a Facebook post the moment he was back home.
He had taken his girl, Stella, for their usual date at their favorite spot. Stella loves the playground tractor and lights up whenever she sees it, and Mr. Mustain enjoys the spot for its ambiance, cleanliness and good food.
As soon as they were done with their meal, his energetic daughter ran to play with the other children and as a result worked up her appetite for dessert. They traded her toy for her favorite ice-cream. She chose to enjoy it at the table – rather than in the truck where she usually prefers. And boy, was Joey glad that she did! Joey and Stella occupied the booth next to the point where drinks are refreshed.
It was from this vantage point that they witnessed the spectacular scene that began with a homeless traveler walking in and asking for leftover food. His hair was untidy and his beard a testament to the lack of a shave for one too many days. His clothes were the typical kind that many of the homeless wore: old, creased and ill-fitting.
His worn out shoes were caked in mud and spoke of a man who had traveled many days. Those next to him kept their distance but the man was not fazed maybe he was used to it. He was actually kind, even as he spoke to people who were wary of him and were reluctant to speak to him. He maintained a smile on his gentle but pinched face as he patiently awaited the manager. Many looked up from their meals as they waited to see what the manager would do with him.
The manager finally came and Joey was astounded by what he heard in the conversation between the manager and that homeless man. The manager said he was willing to give a full hot meal and would hear nothing of scraps and leftovers from the man.
The only payment he demanded was that the homeless man allows him to pray for him! And in midst of the hub of activity, the bewildered customers, and curious staff, the Manager laid his hand on the man. A momentary silence swept over the restaurant as he began to pray.
It was a stirring prayer that was full of love and evoked the emotions of the heart. And in that moment, the homeless man became more than an unwanted sight at a favorite eating spot. He became the purpose that the store opened its doors that morning or any morning.
Stella was looking on at the behest of her father and asked for an elaboration of the curious scene before her. When Joey explained, the little girl bowed her head too.
It was then that Joey recognized that Chick-fil-A is more than a mere business for profit joint – it is a ministry. Joey was truly awed, and even more so as he saw the learning opportunity for his young daughter. He aimed to teach her important life lessons and welcomed such opportunities where he could witness other Christians minister these lessons to her as well. He was grateful that Chick-fil-A offered that opportunity that day. He could see in his daughter’s face, that she was deeply moved by the kindness of the manager.
That manager could have shooed off the ragged homeless man from his restaurant. Maybe he could have gathered scraps and sent him away with them (and that would be helpful). But he decided to do more, he chose to minister to him, and he made a difference beyond the life of that man.
As the weather gets chillier, contemplate on how you can help the homeless who have to endure the harrowing and risky conditions. You can make a positive difference no matter your location. There is always a homeless shelter that will accept spare old clothes, money and most of all volunteer time. You have what it takes to make a difference and change lives for the better like that wonderful and kind Manager!