Receiving discounts when purchasing items is always nice — and it’s especially nice when it comes as an unexpected surprise.
A group of diners at Mary’s Gourmet Diner recently experienced just that — upon receiving their bill, they saw that they had received a 15% discount on their meal.
But the reason was not a special at the diner, or a first time guest offer. It was something they’d never seen before: a ‘praying in public’ discount.
The Winston-Salem, North Carolina restaurant has now come into the spotlight for its unusual ‘deal’.
The concept is simple enough: if staff observe customers saying grace before their meal, they have the prerogative to add the special 15% discount to their tab.
The diner’s owner, 65-year-old Mary Haglund, confirmed that this is indeed something her restaurant allows and supports.
“Food is a Gift”
“For me, every plate of food is a gift,” she explained to The Blaze. “And I never take that for granted, and when I see someone in my restaurant honoring their gratefulness at my table, it touches my heart.”
It’s up to every staff members’ discretion whether they decide to apply the discount or not, adds Mary, explaining that it is in no way a requirement.
“It could be anything — just taking a moment to push away the world,” she said. “I never asked anyone who they were praying to — that would be silly. I just recognized it as an act of gratitude.”
Indeed, the discount is not advertized, and, in the spirit of inclusivity, applies to people of all faiths and backgrounds — not just Christians.
“It’s just a moment or faithfulness about the plate of food,” Mary explains. “It’s not even a policy — it’s [something] we only do when we’re moved to do it.”
Mary grew up with a preacher/missionary father and lived in the Philippines for some time, where she says she witnessed her share of poverty. She no longer considers herself religious, but describes herself as spiritual and believes in a greater force.
“We are so fortunate in this country,” she says.
The diner came to national attention after three business travelers stopped by Winston-Salem for a meal. When they asked for the bill, they saw the discount.
“There was no signage anywhere that promoted the prayer discount. We just ordered our food and prayed over it once it arrived,” one of the diners, Jordan Smith, said. “It wasn’t until the end when they brought the bill over and it said 15% discount for praying in public.”
“I just innocently posted it to my Facebook page and it’s been really fun to see where it’s gone from there,” she added.
Jordan and her fellow diners were pleasantly surprised with the discount.
“The three of us at the table talked about how wonderful that is and what a cool thing it is that that they as business owners,” she said.
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