One fast food employee has become an internet sensation for his inspirational mission to help others.
Jakeem Tyler, 18, is a high school senior who works for a Chick-fil-A in Indiana. After getting injured in a serious car accident, Tyler showed up to work in a sling and neck brace, never missing a beat.
Why would he continue to work under these circumstances? To fulfill a personal mission to raise money for the homeless for the holidays.
Customer Cameron Nelson stopped into the restaurant where Tyler works and snapped a now-viral photo of the teen working while bandaged up.
After striking up a conversation, Nelson learned of Tyler’s noble work ethic and dedication to helping others. Nelson ended up sharing Tyler’s story on Facebook, which has garnered tons of attention.
“He said he was involved in a car accident, but he was working cause (sic) he needs the money & also wants to feed the homeless for Christmas & needs the cash,” Nelson wrote in his post. “We sneeze too hard & decide to call in, but he’s workin (sic) like nothing’s wrong.”
Speaking to The Huffington Post, Tyler confirmed Nelson’s story. “I was working to use my own money to feed the homeless in the surrounding areas downtown, [through] various shelters,” he said.
“Since I was seven my family and I were feeding the homeless in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after service on Sundays,” he continued. “My faith guides me in everything I do. I’ve always had a heart to give and wanted to share God’s love to everyone.”
One might be curious as to how Tyler was even allowed to work in his condition, but the restaurant owner is actually very supportive of his mission.
“Faith is very important to him,” Chick-fil-A owner Chris Tincher said of Tyler. “They [Tyler’s family] believe in giving back and serving others and it’s really part of his heart.”
Tincher also noted that Tyler had been cleared by his doctors to return to work and the sling and neck brace were more cautionary than obligatory to make sure he didn’t injure himself further.
“He enjoys his work and wanted to come back and be with the team,” Tincher said. “We’re very proud of him.”
Nelson set up a GoFundMe account in support of Tyler’s efforts, and it has already raised more than $18,000 in just four days. According to The Huffington Post, Nelson has given Tyler’s parents access to the money.
“It was a humbling experience for him to start the GoFundMe page for me,” Tyler said of Nelson. “I truly desire to live up to the expectations to all that have donated.”
Sticking true to his initial goal, Tyler said he plans to use the donations from GoFundMe to feed the homeless, “multiple times.”
It must be true what they say: By doing good to others, we do good to ourselves.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr, m01229