Lowe Petties was dining at a local fast food restaurant when an exchange by the counter caught her attention. The manager of the branch was having an unusual conversation with a female customer. So, Petties took a snap of the encounter and posted it on Facebook where it soon went viral.
Ahmed Elmadhoun runs a Frenchy’s Chicken restaurant off Richmond Avenue in Houston, Texas. The fast food joint specializes in Louisiana Creole cuisine. However, it’s the eatery’s fried chicken that tends to pull in the crowds of hungry diners.
On Wednesdays the restaurant runs a weekly special, in which customers can get their hands on two pieces of chicken for just $1.29. As a result, midweek is always a particularly busy time for Elmadhoun and his staff.
Describing the weekly scenes, in February 2018 Elmadhoun told KHOU 11, “Usually the place is pretty packed.” With that in mind, the busy manager can probably do without added distractions whenever the special is running.
However, every so often a problem comes up worthy of Elmadhoun’s time. In fact, that’s exactly what happened one Wednesday night in February 2018. And it all began when a woman entered the restaurant with a small child in tow.
Although the sight was not in itself unusual, for some reason the pair caught Elmadhoun’s eye. Revealing what happened next, he explained, “She stood in line. And when it was her turn, she asked to speak to the manager privately.”
Agreeing to the lady’s request, Elmadhoun stopped what he was doing and went to talk with the woman. However, little did he know that the stranger’s story would leave him heartbroken. Later, he said that the conversation was “definitely not something you hear every day.”
The woman had explained to Elmadhoun that she was caring for her ten grandchildren, including the little girl in her company. She revealed that she was hungry, as were the kids. However, she said that she didn’t have enough money to buy even one piece of chicken.
The woman had approached Elmadhoun with a proposal. Would he be willing to serve her and her family some food on loan? She assured him that she would pay him back the following day when her payments came in.
Recalling his encounter with the woman, Elmadhoun said, “For someone to offer to give me her ID, her social security card, and she had a little girl with her. She was really going through a tough time. She was pretty embarrassed.”
After listening to the lady’s story, Elmadhoun decided to do something special for her. He agreed to serve the woman and her family a feast, free of charge. Explaining his reasoning, the manager simply said, “We all go through tough times.”
Back in the kitchen, Elmadhoun began gathering food for the woman in need. “I made her a big box, filled it up with chicken, anything I could find,” he revealed. “I put together a whole lot of small sides, a little bit of everything, some French fries.”
And the kindly manager didn’t stop there. Elmadhoun even threw in some desserts for the lady’s grandchildren. “I asked the little girl, ‘Do you want something sweet?’ She said she wanted a lemon cake,” he explained.
What’s more, when Elmadhoun handed the food over, he told the woman she didn’t need to pay the restaurant back. Instead, he assured her that he would cover the bill. That meant that the family could enjoy their feast without having to worry.
Understandably, the manager’s generous actions floored the woman. “She was so relieved,” Elmadhoun said. “She had a smile on her face, she was in awe, couldn’t believe someone would do that.” However, that wasn’t the last of his kind gestures.
Before the lady left to eat with her family, Elmadhoun told her she need never go hungry again. “I told her if you’re ever in that situation again, just come back and see me. We’re here for you,” he said.
And it seems that Elmadhoun’s touching gesture inspired others in the restaurant. Because after the manager had finished serving the lady, two other good Samaritans stepped in to fill up her car. Lowe Petties, who was also dining that night, shared Elmadhoun’s caring deed on Facebook, where the manager was rightly praised.
In a matter of weeks, the post detailing Elmadhoun’s act of kindness clocked up an impressive 15,000 reactions and 5,400 shares. Furthermore, it attracted hundreds of comments, many of which gushed over the manager’s commendable actions.
One user wrote, “Absolutely beautiful the entire thing. As long as people like these two are still around there has to be hope for this world. God bless you all.” Meanwhile, another person said, “There are some people with hearts in their chests.”
But to Elmadhoun, his was a simple gesture. He just hoped the food took the family’s minds off their troubles, for a little while at least. “That makes me really happy. They went home and all ate,” he said. “We all need a little help now and then.”