If the holiday spirit has left you feeling particularly generous, here’s a somewhat unexpected way you can be more charitable: donate money to an injured Chick-fil-A employee so he can help feed the homeless.
According to Today, earlier this month, Cameron Nelson dropped by a Chick-fil-A in the Indianapolis suburb of Avon to grab something to eat. In what turned out to be a fortuitous twist, the drive-thru was line was a bit long so he went inside: That’s where Nelson saw Jakeem Tyler, an 18-year-old student working behind the counter despite wearing a sling and neck brace. “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 and also wants to feed the homeless for Christmas and needs the cash,” Nelson later wrote.
Seeing the young man working through his injuries not just to help himself but to help others apparently had a profound effect on Nelson. “I had never seen anybody his age working in that type of condition,” he told Today. “Normally we look for opportunities to go home from work any chance we get. So it surprised me.”
To help further Tyler’s cause, Nelson launched a GoFundMe campaign on December 9 and began spreading the word. In the ensuing eleven days, over 1,700 people have donated over $34,000.
Jakeem Tyler’s father told Today that his son is “awestruck” by what’s happen. He said back on November 30 his son had injured his shoulder, neck, knee and wrist in the crash, but wanted to return to work just a few days later. He also said helping out those in need is part of his son’s regular routine. “Whenever he has the money, he'll purchase some food at the end of his shift, and he'll stop along the way home and give it to people,” the father was quoted as saying. He had a larger message as well: “What's important to remember is the homeless aren't just hungry around the holidays…. This is an everyday occurrence for some people.”
If you’d like to donate, the campaign is still open. As many people have suggested in the page’s comments, you should keep in mind that you are donating to a GoFundMe campaign, not quite an official charity. However, even Chick-fil-A has discussed the spreading story. “He is an inspiration both in terms of his work ethic and commitment to serving others,” said Chris Tincher, the owner of the franchise where Tyler works.