A stranger's act of kindness went viral, along with the response it prompted from a homeless woman.
Carmen Mendez was at a Raising Cane’s restaurant in California with her boyfriend, Fred, when she saw a homeless woman. The woman asked various customers if she could eat the leftovers they would otherwise throw away.
"Not one person said yes, they all ignored her and threw it away, it broke my heart," Mendez wrote in a Facebook post. "I have been volunteering with the homeless now for many years ... they don’t repulse me or make me sick to my stomach. I hold them all with so much love."
Mendez told her boyfriend that if she saw the woman before they finished eating, she would give her the leftovers.
"I looked for her as we were getting ready to leave and couldn’t find her," she said. "I felt sad knowing all the rejection she had that night searching for a warm meal."
The homeless woman eventually did asked Mendez for the leftovers, so she gave her one chicken strip and five fries. But she knew she needed to do more.
"I felt like a horrible human being feeding her my leftover chicken strip ... she deserved so much more ... so I bought her a whole meal ... she deserved to eat a hot meal," Mendez said.
When Mendez ordered the meal, she asked the employee not to throw the homeless woman out of the restaurant. She gave the meal to the woman, who then displayed an act of "pure, real gratitude."
"That hug she gave me was like a hug I had never felt ... those tears she shed were felt deep in my heart," Mendez said. "I held her tight and let her let it out. I wasn’t repulsed by it. I just held her. And that is a moment I will never ever forget. So next time you judge a homeless person, think twice ... not all of them are homeless because of a drug addiction or because they are lazy."
On the Qpolitical Facebook page, many praised Mendez and shared similar experiences of acts of kindness.
"Many people these days are one paycheck or two away from being homeless," Dan Jones wrote. "To pay for this woman's meal is a true expression of love and compassion. Something we could all take some time in our busy lives to express for those less fortunate."