One restaurant in North Carolina will either be under fire or see a boost in their business after customers reported that staff at the diner took a particular notice to them praying over their meals, going so far as to include something unexpected on their receipt.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner quickly received national attention after owner Mary Haglund confirmed that her establishment gives a 15 percent discount on bills for “praying in public.” In fact, she’s been offering it for several years at her Winston-Salem, North Carolina diner.
“For me, every plate of food is a gift,” she explained, according to The Blaze. “And, I never take that for granted, and when I see someone in a restaurant honoring their gratefulness at my table … it touches my heart.”
But, don’t think for a minute that Haglund forces her beliefs on any of her staff. If any of the wait staff is uncomfortable or disagrees with it, they aren’t forced to give the discount. In fact, Haglund never advertises the discount. Rather, it’s something staffers sporadically offer only when they feel compelled to do so.
“It’s just a moment or faithfulness about the plate of food,” Haglund explained. “It’s not even a policy — it’s [something] we only do when we’re moved to do it.”
As a teen, Haglund, who is the daughter of a preacher and missionary, lived in the Philippines where she saw a true need. “We are so fortunate in this country,” she said.
Although Haglund says she fell away from her faith as she grew older, she still describes herself as a spiritual person who believes in a higher power.
Jordan Smith, who had traveled to Winston-Salem for a business trip and stopped for breakfast at Mary’s with two colleagues one Wednesday morning, is responsible for the sudden popularity of the diner’s discount. Smith posted a photo of her receipt to Facebook after receiving the discount when she and co-workers prayed over their meal.
The receipt soon made its way onto Z88.3 radio’s Facebook page in Orlando, where it captured the attention of thousands of individuals who both “liked” and shared it on the social media network.
“[We] prayed over our meal and the waitress came over at the end of the meal and said, ‘Just so you know, we gave you a 15% discount for praying,’ which I’d never seen before,” Smith told HLN, adding that she’s surprised by how quickly the photo spread online. “I just innocently posted it to my Facebook page and it’s been really fun to see where it’s gone from there,” she said.
Smith was also “definitely surprised” by the 15% savings, adding that “the three of us at the table talked about how wonderful that is and what a cool thing it is that they do as business owners.” But, of course, not everyone will agree. However, before anyone takes issue with and jumps all over Haglund’s business for rewarding Christian behavior, the 60-year-old diner owner said the discount was never limited to a specific type of prayer, religious perspective, or particular higher power. Besides, nothing in our country says there has to be a separation of church and plate.