I'm sure most of us can agree that pizza is delicious. However, is it possible for these cheese-filled delicacies to save lives? Perhaps so.
Ensuring all customers are satisfied is a massive goal of any restaurant or business within the hospitality industry and a huge factor in how much profit they make.
However, when faced with a patron that wrote a heart-wrenching letter linked to his pizzeria, Rich Baer, co-owner of an Albert's Pizza, immediately forgot about the money. Instead, he was brought to tears.
A letter written by Dennis Kust [left]; Dennis Kust crying [right]. | Source: youtube.com/CBS New York
NO LIGHT IN SIGHT
It was March of 2017, and 59-year-old Dennis Kust was at his lowest point, having recently lost his wife to cancer. Baer noticed something was wrong with this individual who had come into the pizzeria. He recollected:
“I could tell, he looked a little spaced out, a little disheveled.. He looked like he was struggling with something emotionally.”
However, this owner did not know the extent of this grieving man's emotional turmoil. Kust had reached such a dark place that he was having suicidal thoughts.
Dennis Kust and his wife. | Source: youtube.com/CBS New York
A HELPING HAND
With seemingly no way out of this tunnel, this 59-year-old had no idea that he was soon about to receive a gift that would change his life forever.
The pizzeria was hosting a pay-it-forward pizza campaign. The idea was that customers could preorder a pie for anyone they felt deserved or needed it.
A wall of some of the pay-it-forward pizza campaign boxes. | Source: youtube.com/CBS New York
AN INDESCRIBABLE MOMENT
One anonymous individual preordered a pizza for this depressed customer. Upon opening the box, Kust began sobbing as he saw "Stay Strong" written inside. These words reminded him of his late wife. The widower expressed:
“The last month of my wife’s life, that’s all she kept telling me, ‘You have to be strong, you have to be strong.’”
His tears, therefore, were not tears of sadness but rather tears of happiness, with the feeling that his spouse was sending him a message. Kust claimed this gesture saved his life.
THE POWER OF KINDNESS
The widower returned with a letter which Baer said made him emotional each time he read it. The first time this owner went through the note, he wept. Part of it stated:
“I was thinking of suicide that evening when I received someone’s thoughtful gift [and] it made me a little less depressed.”
Kust chose to keep the top half of the box. That way, he could simultaneously remember the kindness of strangers and the inspiring words uttered by his loving and late wife.
NO SHORTAGE OF KINDNESS
The benevolence of strangers and its impact on the individuals on the other end of this compassion can be astounding.
Peculiarly, it seems as though Good Samaritans have a knack for helping out in restaurants. Daniel and Maxi Cortez, along with their little girls, were dining at Red Lobster when the unexpected happened.
Once they finished their meal, they received a note with a fully paid bill. The message encouraged the parents to enjoy their children while still small.
The Cortez family was profoundly grateful and genuinely in need of this beautiful gesture after the parents lost one of their babies in 2015.
The truth is, whether it be depression or grief, we never know what someone is going through, and so we should treat everyone with goodwill — going even further to make their day slightly better if possible.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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