Restaurant owner offers free meal to mystery dumpster diver

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Monday, April 13, 2015
P.B. Jams/ABC News

OKLAHOMA CITY -- "You are a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster."

That's what the owner of a sandwich shop wanted whoever was riffling through her trash to know, and that's why she offered that person a free meal, no questions asked.

Ashley Jiron, who posted the note outside her restaurant P.B. Jams told ABC News that her gesture was personal. The single mother of two has had to use food stamps in the past, she said.

"Sometimes at the end of the month there wasn't enough to feed me and my family," she said. "Something as simple as even just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is very comforting to somebody and maybe even offer them a few words."

She said she offered up a free meal of a sandwich and vegetables after she found evidence someone had rummaged through the restaurant's trash.

"I had gone to the back to go put some trash in the dumpster, and I had noticed that some bags and containers with food were emptied and gone through," she said. "Immediately, of course, my heart sank, and I knew I needed to do something about it right away."

Her gesture has gone viral, thanks to its popularity on Reddit. Though no one has come forward asking for the meal, Jiron posted on Facebook that another good deed has come out of it.

Comments on the original post asked that the restaurant offer a way to pay for others' meals, and Jiron has obliged. She now has "Share the Nuts" sticky notes up in her restaurant, free meals that others have already bought for those in need to take.

Social media users have speculated that the person who was taking food from the garbage was doing so because they were too ashamed to ask for help. Jiron said she is aware of this.

"I don't want to hurt anyone's pride. That's not my intention at all; I just wanted to feed them something simple," she told ABC News.

She added that whether someone comes forward or not, some good has come from the response.

"It has been so incredible the kind of support from everyone messaging and writing me and thanking me for something so simple that I thought was just second nature," she said.