A Mentally Challenged Man Tried To Order A Meal With One Nickel. He Just Didn’t Understand.

Would you have given this man a meal? A young kid was working the regular lunch shift when a familiar homeless man came in. Some businesses will give food to people who don’t mind doing a little bit of cleaning…but the kid’s manager had other ideas.

I worked at Jack in the Box. A homeless, mentally challenged older man would come in a couple days a week just to help out a little. He would always pick up the trays people left on their tables and hand them back to me. He never ordered anything, except for water (which is free), but he felt like he was “working.”

But one hot day, he came in and asked for the cheapest sandwich on the menu. The total was $1.09, and he pulls out a nickel and asks me “Is this enough?”

When I reluctantly told him no, his sweet smile quickly turned to a frown. He kept repeating “Are you sure? Are you sure?!” and my heart broke.

I wasn’t having any of this. I asked my shift manager if we could give him a discount of some sort. She, said no, but the way she said it made me angry. She knew this man and knew that he had some kind of disability. So, I went to the back room, grabbed my debit card, and asked him to pick out whatever he wanted.

He was confused, and kept repeating the ’99cent’ option. I also put in an order for a combo of some sort, and a couple of tacos. I took his nickel, paid for everything myself, and gave him back the nickel as “change.”

He didn’t thank me, he didn’t cry, and I could tell that he didn’t realize what had happened. All he said was “I knew it was enough! I told you, silly!”

Yep, he told me.

Would the world be any different if we were more lenient on services? “Trading” isn’t common, and since we are all expected to pay taxes, keeping track of this type of system isn’t always legal. This kid new that the man was doing his best, and did something kind without actually expecting anything in return – not even a ‘thank you.’ People like that homeless man need our help the most, and this kid knew it…even if the manager didn’t.


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