Charity

A Business Owner's Act of Kindness Inspires the Internet, Sparks Larger Campaign

In Oklahoma City, a sandwich shop called P.B. Jams is serving up some kindness -- and it’s being noticed in a big way.

Last week, owner Ashley Jiron saw signs that someone had been going through the dumpster for a meal -- closed bags had holes ripped in them and food looked like it had been removed. Rather than put out mousetraps or call the authorities, she posted a sign on the door reminding whoever was doing this that they are a human being that is worthy of eating food that wasn’t tossed in the garbage. She offered them a free peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a side of veggies and a glass of water for free, no questions asked.

A snap of the message quickly went viral.

 

A photo posted by Greg King (@gregking8081) on Apr 10, 2015 at 10:43am PDT

 

Jiron told local news affiliate KFOR, “It hurt me that someone had to [take food from the dumpster].” She also explained the reason for her altruistic action. “I think we’ve all been in that position where... we just needed someone to extend that hand, and if I can be that one person to extend that hand to another human being then I will definitely do it,” she said.

Related: Biz Stone: Good Works Can Shape Your Company's Mission and Market

P.B. Jams has only been open since mid-January, but after Jiron’s random act of kindness went viral on Twitter and Reddit, it looks like business will be going strong. People are leaving messages on the restaurant’s Facebook page expressing support and appreciation for Jiron. One from Facebook user Brittany Gayle Hueter reads, in part, “I wish there were more business owners like you. These places that have a heart are where I like to spend my money at.”

Related: 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

Taking the gesture a step farther thanks to some suggestions, P.B. Jams has launched a #Sharethenuts campaign, an idea that’s based off of a New York City pizza joint that allows customers to put pre-pay for someone’s meal and leave a sticky-note on the wall for whoever needs it. In Jiron’s version, customers write a note in a peanut outline and tack it to the wall. Whoever needs it can take the note from the wall and bring it to the front where they’ll receive their meal -- again, no questions asked.

“Rather than just feed the one person that this whole thing started with, why not feed more?” Jiron tells Entrepreneur.

She has enough donations to cover an estimated 15 meals so far, and the project has just started. “It’s been pretty amazing. People have been so kind and supportive. People say that I did something nice, but everyone else is doing something even nicer.”

Related: Food With Thought: How One Franchise Is Making the World a Better Place Through Sandwiches

Edition: December 2016

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