This happened my freshman year of college about 20 years ago. My university had just invested in a big new dining hall, and to help pay for their investment, required all new students to buy a 150 meal plan both semesters. This was a big financial burden being from a lower middle class family, but my parents pooled funds to help me out and make it happen.
Not far into my first semester, I found out from friends that the meals you didn't use didn't roll over. Since I lived off campus I knew I wouldn't be able to use them all. Heading into November I realized I would end up with 60-75 meals leftover, and I complained about this a lot to family and friends because it seemed like such a waste.
In comes the plan. My freshman year of college was also my cousin's senior year and we hung out pretty often. He was the biggest trickster / prankster type you ever met. One night while we were drinking he says, "What if you brought a bunch of homeless people to use up your meals! How much would that p!$s off those self righteous bast****!"
We laughed all night, but the more I thought about the idea, the more I really started to like it. We talked all weekend about it and hatched a plan.
On Monday morning we went down to the local salvation army around the corner. I have grown to really despise this organization, but in the early 2000s in small town USA its what we had. We told the lady at the desk I would like to feed people in need with my meal plan.
She was hesitant at first but said she was working with people that this would be a huge blessing to, especially during the holiday season. She helped me organize 2 days the following week where around 30 people would meet me to eat at the dining hall. I would wear a certain hat so they could find me, and we would go eat.
The day finally arrived and all kinds of people were there. There were homeless people in tattered clothes. There were families with kids that seemed excited to eat out. There was even one family I will always remember that seemed embarrassed to take a handout, but I made an effort to talk to everybody and make them feel welcomed.
At noon we headed into the dining hall. I walked up to the lady at the entrance and said, "These people are with me. They are my friends. I would like to swipe them in." She looked confused but reluctantly said okay.
To say we got every reaction humanly possible would be an understatement. There were staff that were obviously annoyed with the influx of diners. There were students that were laughing. There were students that were giving me the silent clap. There were snobbish faculty members that seemed to be disgusted at the type of people coming into the dining hall.
I didn't care at all. Eventually, a head staff member came up and said they knew what I was doing and they didn't like it. I said, "These are my friends eating with me. I paid for these meals. Am I doing anything wrong?" She was stumped.
The next day the same situation happened with the same reactions. It seemed that I had caused quite a stir on campus, and it just so happened that the university president was eating there that day.
She came up to me and said even though she would ask that I not tell my friends to do the same thing with their meals as the staff couldn't handle the influx of diners. She said that she was proud that her students had the heart to do something for others like that.
The following semester I did the exact same thing. I even used my meals sparingly so I could bring more people. The one memory that will always stick out in my head is the family with the little kids so excited to go to the pizza bar and soft serve ice cream machine giggling the whole time.
To this day it's still one of the proudest moments of my life. Me and my friends and family still have a drink and chuckle over the story and the snoody, angry reactions I got.
This choked me up a little bit especially the part about the little ones getting pizza and ice cream.
Easily ends up being my favorite part of the story too!
Nicely done fellow human. If we still had awards, you'd get one for this fine gesture.
That's chaotic good if I've ever seen it right there.
What gets me is that they wanted you to pay for 150 meals, but they certainly hadn’t figured on having to supply 150 meals.
Good on you for blowing past their feeble objections.
Bro, you're a legend! I wish more people in the world had the same type of compassion as you. I'm pretty sure you made unforgettable memories for many people that day.
I really hope life blesses you for this moment.
I've always liked how compassion came out of joking around and trying to stick it to the man. Truly unintended result! Lol