MIAMI, Ok. — The signs around town allude to Miami, Oklahoma's one claim to fame: historic Route 66 runs right through the center of this town, which is home to 13,000 people. But it’s something else hanging on the walls of Zack's Cafe here that has helped to put this town on the map.
Right when the pandemic began, manager Chris Sala and his staff noticed a need. With people out of work, many couldn’t afford meals. That’s when customers randomly started paying it forward by paying ahead and covering the entire check of an additional meal.
"The amount of people that pay it forward is amazing. People aren’t as selfish as they might seem sometimes," Chris Sala said.
Those receipts are then hung up on what’s they’ve come to call the Giving Wall. Anyone in need can grab one and the price of their meal is covered.
These are not extravagant, four-course dinners. Sometimes the check is just to cover biscuits and gravy. But that small act of generosity has made a big impact during this pandemic.
"To them, that’s everything. It’s the equivalent of a Thanksgiving dinner to people. I have regulars who come in and depend on that wall no one should be going hungry," Sala added.
This restaurant manager would love nothing more than for this to catch on all over the country.
"I would love for it to spread and be in New York City next weekend," he added.
But for now, there always seems to be at least one receipt here hanging on the Giving Wall, ready for whoever can’t afford their next meal. An act of kindness more hearty than any meal coming out of this kitchen.