Restaurant owner Ricky Craig was filling up his car at a Houston, Texas, gas station Monday when he noticed a young boy in the car next to him pop his head out the window to talk to his mother.
“Are we gonna have Thanksgiving food?” the boy asked.
“I’ll try my best, sweetie,” the mother responded.
That moment resonated with Craig, 33, who almost immediately tweeted the conversation to his 4,000 followers and asked them to message him so he could provide them $100 each for Thanksgiving food. The result was something Craig never expected.
“It just went crazy viral worldwide. I had people from the United Kingdom, Australia, trying to contact me online,” Craig told the Daily Dot. “I was trying to help my community. It was a last minute decision and when I tweeted it out I didn’t think it was going to be that crazy.”
Both of Craig’s messages quickly collected more than 400 retweets and favorites. Not to mention, dozens of emails and phone calls from people around the U.S. begging the owner of Houston’s Hubcab Grill to help them this holiday.
“When you get emails from people calling out your name, saying ‘Ricky, Ricky, Ricky, please help me, I have nothing,’ it made me feel sick to my stomach,” Craig said. “My heart just went out to them. I couldn’t help all these people out. I didn’t realize how bad people’s situation are. It really opened up my eyes to a lot of things.”
While there are no specific statistics on how many people will go hungry this Thanksgiving, about 14.9 percent of households in the U.S. are food insecure “at least some time during the year, including 5.7 percent with very low food security—meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted,” reported the Department of Agriculture. The main cause for food insecurity is lack of money and other resources for food.
Since sending out his tweets Monday, Craig has spent around $2,000 of his own to purchase turkeys, carrot, bread, potatoes, corn, and pecan pies for 20 families in the Houston area. He will be distributing that food, and some cooking tips, at his restaurant Wednesday at 2pm.
“Social media can be used very wisely, if you do it right,” Craig said. “It can be used in a miracle way.”
Photo via 29-25