Everyone, but perhaps the Grinch, loves to hear inspirational stories during the holiday season. It’s one of the things that makes Christmas so special.
One such story, now making rounds on the Internet and reported last month by Western Journalism, has been rekindling people’s faith in good works.
High school student Jakeem Tyler became an internet sensation after a picture of him working behind the counter at a local Chick-fil-A went viral.
Tyler had been in a car accident and needed to wear a neck brace and sling which severely restricted his movement. However, the young man was anxious to get back to work. After he was cleared by his doctor, Tyler returned to the restaurant in the hopes of making money before Christmas arrived.
One would normally think Tyler needed the money for presents, but that wasn’t the case. His family planned on using the money to feed the homeless.
Amazed by the dedication of the young man, Chick-Fil-A customer Cameron Nelson shared a picture of Tyler on his Facebook account. “I stopped at Chick-fil-A & decided to go in cause the drive-thru was too long, and I saw this young man working with a neck brace & a sling. We sneeze too hard & decide to call in, but he’s workin like nothing’s wrong,” Nelson wrote.
“When I placed my order, I asked him what happened… he said he was involved in a car accident, but he was working cause he needs the money & also wants to feed the homeless for Christmas & needs the cash… maybe I was supposed to go in there. I think I may kick down a hundred or two on payday to help him out… he’s definitely doin it for a great cause & I was amazed he’s still workin despite his condition,” he added, linking a GoFundMe fundraiser page for Tyler.
Nelson’s Facebook post garnered massive attention, and to this day has received over 30,000 likes and 6,000 shares.
For a while, Tyler had no idea money was being raised on his behalf. It wasn’t until his parents were told their son’s story was making headlines that they realized a unique miracle was happening.
Originally, Nelson’s target was to raise $2,500. But within three days the campaign surpassed $5,000, followed three days later by topping $12,000. Now, a month later, the astonishing total is more than $44,000.
Tyler, moved at the altruism behind the cause, has decided to pay the goodwill forward. The Indiana native plans to use the money raised to continue helping the homeless.
“I was amazed and I was so grateful. I didn’t look to get any attention or receive any donations from anyone,” Tyler said. “I’m just glad that so many people get to see my testimony and see that not all teens are bad and that there are good people in this world.”
He added, “I want to build a foundation for the homeless in Indiana and then nationwide and even worldwide.”
None of the money raised will be used for Tyler’s education. “Being his brother’s keeper” seems to be far more important to the young man.
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