A new restaurant opened in Wilford, Connecticut over the summer, but a few months after the opening, there was a startling sign on the door with a message.
Walied Hanaif opened the family restaurant only this summer, but there was an inspiring encounter he had before that which led to a novel idea.
While the restaurant was under construction, a local homeless man came by and offered Hanaif and his wife a roasted chicken and big loaf of bread that he’d gotten from the grocery store as a “good luck” gift.
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Hanaif had picked a good spot for a restaurant. According to NHRegister, the block sees a lot of foot traffic, and that also means that Hanaif sees other homeless people and people who don’t seem like they could afford a meal.
He’s invited people in before to have a bite, all for free.
Wanting to extend the gesture as a regular thing, Hanaif decided to put a sign up at the front of the restaurant.
Taped to the front door of the restaurant was a piece of paper written on in black marker:
“If you don’t have money, come in and grab a sandwich Free”
“That’s why I put the sign, not for them to be hesitant. Just to come in, ask for food, a sandwich or whatever, and I’ll be more than happy to give it to them,” he said.
People have already been taking Hanaif up on the offer, and he says that it really doesn’t add up to much of a cost.
The sign had been up for nearly two weeks before a local reporter noticed it, and the story spread. Hanaif said he wasn’t looking for any publicity or attention, but to just extend kindness to others.
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He’s told all of his staff to do the same; if he’s not around and someone comes in asking for food, give it to them, and get them a drink as well.
“I’m just trying to do it from the bottom of my heart, and I’m trying to teach my kids the way it’s supposed to be,” Hanaif said. “Always just do the right things, and it comes back.”
The sign has also inspired others to pay it forward. Just the other day, he had a customer leaving an extra $10 that he wanted to go toward a meal someone might not have been able to afford.
“That made me uplifted,” Hanaif told New Haven Register. “One hand washes the other.”