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Economy

Small gesture of kindness draws jumbo response for Edmonton donair shop

WATCH ABOVE: A young man walks into an Edmonton donair shop unable to buy something to eat, but instead of turning him away, the owner piles a plate high with food for him. And as Shallima Maharaj explains, that story of kindness is striking a chord with thousands in the midst of an economic downturn.

EDMONTON- In the same week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured Alberta to hear from those devastated by oilpatch layoffs, a small act of kindness from a small donair shop on Edmonton’s south side is generating a huge buzz.

On Monday, a Facebook user posted an account of eating a meal with her father at Jumbo Donair when a man who “wasn’t in the best shape” walked in and told the owners he only had a bit of money but was hoping to get something to eat. The post said the owner told the man “If you’re hungry, I give you food” and prepared a free meal for the down-on-his luck patron.

The Facebook post has since been shared nearly 9,000 times and Maher Taweel, the owner of Jumbo Donair, said the viral post has had a ripple effect on people walking through his doors.

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“Big jump,” Taweel said. “Like boom!”

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“Seen the post on Facebook and thought, yeah, I wanted a donair tonight so thought I’d come down – even though it was all the way across town, ” Curtis Kish, a customer at the eatery, said Wednesday night.

The Jumbo Donair restaurant in the Edmonton community of Mill Woods.
The Jumbo Donair restaurant in the Edmonton community of Mill Woods. Aaron Streck/Global News

“There are a lot of people that need a lot of help right now – they really do- and people like this who are so selfless,” customer John Blades said as he trailed off while eating his dinner. “They certainly have done some good things for the community it sounds like and you want to support them.”

The seemingly small gesture is certainly magnified with Alberta’s recent economic gloominess according to someone who works on the frontlines with Edmonton’s homeless population.

“I think it’s really lovely to hear when people are being kind to each other and sharing that kindness around and we all need a little kindness in our lives,” Hope Mission spokesperson Rachael Chan said. “Particularly through these tough times with the economy and unemployment and job loss. ”

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“It’s very heartwarming and we all do need that little bit of kindness in our lives so being able to help someone out who might be going through a tough situation, is very special and very meaningful.”

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“We should help people,” Taweel told Global News. “Why not? If you can, just do it.”

Taweel said his family had recently planned on giving up the business but those plans have now been shelved and he has no intention of doing things differently just because of his newfound social media attention.

“If today I help people, tomorrow maybe I need help, so that’s what I do,” he said.

With files from Shallima Maharaj.