PEI

How this Summerside man is paying it forward, by the slice

Lyle Stewart had been unemployed but recently landed a job, so he decided to take $100 from his first paycheque to his favourite local pizza shop to pay it forward. 

'I'm just returning the favour to the community,' says Lyle Stewart

Lyle Stewart, left, with Dino's Pizza Summerside owner Rami Ayoub, right, gave $100 to the pizzeria's suspended slice program, which allows people who can't pay to grab a slice of pizza for free. (Submitted by Dino's Pizza Summerside)

Lyle Stewart of Summerside, P.E.I., says he knows what it's like to be broke.

Stewart had been unemployed, but recently he landed a job at Atlantic Liquidators, and also makes a little money cutting grass, so he decided to take $100 from his first paycheque to his favourite local pizza shop to pay it forward. 

"I know what it's like to not afford a slice of pizza or even go to McDonald's and get a cheeseburger," he said. 

Stewart's generous donation will go to Dino's Pizza's suspended slice program, which lets anyone get a slice for free when they don't have the money for it.  

"I've been wanting to do this for the last two or three years, but it just wasn't in my finances at the time, and this year it was in the finances," Stewart said. "I'm just returning the favour to the community."

'I grew up from nothing'

Stewart said he is proud to be able to give back now that he is doing better, healthy and working. 

"I lost my father to alcohol and drugs, so trying to ... make my father proud up in the heavens," he said. "I grew up from nothing. I had a troubled life. I could have went to jail many times, but the police took me home instead."

Rami Ayoub, the owner of the pizzeria, said Stewart has been a loyal customer for a decade and was surprised when he dropped by one day after work to make the donation. 

He truly has a heart of gold. He's a fantastic guy.— Rami Ayoub

"I said, like, you sure man? Like, rent's coming up next week man, hold onto your money," Ayoub said. He suggested Stewart give $50 instead. 

But Stewart insisted. 

One hundred dollars will pay for 33 slices. 

"I said man, that's great man, a lot of people are going to appreciate that," Ayoub said. 

Anyone can use the pay-it-forward program, Ayoub said, from someone going through hard times to people who've forgotten their wallet, and students who can't pay. 

"He truly has a heart of gold. He's a fantastic guy," Ayoub said of Stewart. "It put a smile on everybody's face ... he felt great too. He was so happy to do it." 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from island Morning

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