We don’t always know when we’re going to witness something incredible happen — in fact, that’s partially why unexpected events can be so incredible in the first place.
But when Joey Mustain took his daughter Stella to a fast food restaurant one day for some daddy-daughter bonding time, he had no idea that he and his daughter would be privy to a teachable moment of compassion and kindness.
Grabbing a Bite to Eat
One random Monday, Mustain and Stella went to their local Chick-fil-A in Tennessee for a bite to eat. “It’s our normal daddy/daughter spot,” Mustain wrote in a Facebook post. They had finished their meals and were enjoying some ice cream for dessert when a homeless man walked into the restaurant.
“He asked if they had any extra food,” Mustain wrote. “Mud was wet and caked on his well-traveled shoes. His hair was matted, and his beard wasn’t a statement as much as it was a necessity and a sign that he doesn’t get to shave as often as most of us do.”
Mustain explained how many people kept their distance and seemed unsure of the man, even though he smiled at everyone and seemed friendly and chatty. Then the store manager approached the stranger and said that he would, of course, give him a warm meal. But he had one condition: he wanted to let him pray with him.
Stopping Everything for a Prayer
According to Mustain, the homeless man agreed. Then, the manager stopped everything that he was doing in order to attend to the man and share a prayer.
“There was no waiting for things to die down; there was no scooting anyone to the side,” the father explained. “As busy as they were, the manager stopped then and there, laid his hand on the man, and proceeded to pray. I heard love in that prayer. The homeless man wasn’t some untouchable stain on business. He was the reason that store opened its doors this morning (or any morning).”
It was a teachable moment, and Mustain asked Stella to pay close attention. When she realized what was going on, she bowed her head and prayed too.
“In a time when companies are trying to win in the market by neutralizing any possibility of offense, [this restaurant] is thriving because they unwaveringly cling to their principles and purpose,” Mustain continued.
“I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today.”
Finding Time to Connect
After Mustain posted this story it went viral, with many news outlets picking it up and thousands sharing it on social media. Although some focused on the religious connotations in the story, many others were quick to point out just how heartwarming it was that someone took the time to share good thoughts with this man while feeding him.
We all get busy with life and our daily grinds, but it is also important to slow down every once in a while and make time for one another. This manager did that on a very busy day at the restaurant, and it has inspired others to do the same.
It’s a nice reminder to make time to reach out to loved ones but also to appreciate those around us. Why not chat for a few minutes with fellow parents at the school drop-off, or with co-workers in the lunchroom, for example? Or perhaps you could schedule a walk with a neighbor or reach out to a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe the next time you see a homeless person, this story will inspire you to stop and learn a bit about who they are.
At the end of the day, connection and human contact matters. Remembering to make time for that isn’t just beneficial to others — it’s something that we need in our lives, too.
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