Maher Taweel was shocked to open his Edmonton donair shop on Tuesday to a crowd of new customers. The reason? His small act of kindness.
"Everyone just came to say 'Thank you. You're a good man'," Taweel said Tuesday afternoon.
It was the busiest his restaurant, Jumbo Donair on 66th Street, has been since he opened two years ago, he said.
He owes it all to one tiny gesture.
On Monday, a young man came into Taweel's shop, but couldn't afford to buy anything.
"He said to me 'I am so hungry. I need some food'," Taweel said. "I said 'Of course man. What would you like?' "
He sent the man off with a heaping plate of poutine and didn't think anything of it. But another customer saw the whole thing and posted it on Facebook.
Before Taweel knew what was happening, the post went viral. By Tuesday afternoon, it had been shared more than 7,000 times.
'It's giving me goosebumps'
"I can't believe what's going on. Seriously," he said.
John Marshall saw the post on Facebook and said he had to support Taweel's business.
"I read the story about how he helps people who don't have enough money to eat," Marshall said. "It's giving me goosebumps. I feel warm about that."
Ami Kitzman also read about Taweel on Facebook. She, her brother and her son grabbed some donairs to show their support for his good deed.
"It's delicious, and he's so nice. They're just wonderful people," Kitzman said of Taweel and his wife.
Taweel said he was touched most by a woman who left a $20 tip as thanks.
"I can't say how I was feeling," he said. "I not look about the money, I just look how she's nice too."
Taweel moved to Canada with his family from Palestine in 2002. He said he was welcomed to the country with open arms, and said that's why he tries to help as many people as he can.
He had been thinking of selling his Donair shop due to a medical issue with his leg, but has decided to continue running it. He said he will likely need to hire more people.
"If I'm busy like this, I'll need more help for sure," Taweel said.