Friday was day 28 of the longest government shutdown in history, and federal workers are starting to feel the consequences of missed paychecks so much that restaurant owners and others are beginning to come to their aid to help ease the financial burden.
On Wednesday, ABC News shared the story of one Syrian refugee who has taken it upon himself to feed those affected by the shutdown. At a time when Mr. Trump is throwing a tantrum about a border wall to keep immigrants out, Yassin Terou, the owner of Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, Tennessee, is offering free meals at both of his restaurants to anyone affected by the government shutdown.
Terou’s restaurant was recently given the prize for Reader’s Digest’s Nicest Places in America.
Terou told “Good Morning America:”
It’s important for me [to provide free meals] because these guys are our brothers and sisters, and they already did the work, and they aren’t getting paid. For someone like me who is living the American dream in the American land…I believe every hard worker should reach his goal and have a good level of life.’
Terou announced his free meal initiative through on his Facebook page, saying:
‘We are more than happy to serve them because they been serving us all this days and we are not going to let them alone.’
Terou told GMA anchor Robin Roberts:
‘America is the winner. Knoxville is the winner. Tennessee is the winner.
‘It’s not me.’
He went on to say:
‘I think this is what makes us the winner, is the people in this country, not us.’
Terou has a sign posted at the entrance, which says:
‘All sizes, all colors, all ages, all sexes, all cultures, all religions, all types, all beliefs, all people, safe here at Yassin’s Falafel House.’
The falafel shop owner has met challenges along the way, but said on GMA:
‘I just want to tell the American people, you are a great people. Everybody loves you and we know you love everybody. We are going to keep this country great and we’re going to build it together.’
Yassin also posted this message on his Facebook page explaining that although people can’t reopen the government or control what happens with the shutdown, they can open their hearts to others:
There was also an outpouring of support on Yassin’s Facebook page as well:
Terou Yassin did not know English when he first came to the United States and said that it hasn’t always been an easy road for him, but he said he learned how to “handle hate with love.”
‘When you love and give your love to people, you are stronger than one who gives hate.’
There has been a generous outpouring of kindness from many other restaurants and businesses as well who are offering free food and services to help ease the strain on federal workers right now.
As our country prepares to celebrate the life of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. on Monday, January 21, Yassin’s story is a powerful example of how Dr. King’s teachings being put into action.
Featured image is a screenshot via ABC News