Sometimes it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a difference in the lives of those going through challenging times. Just ask the owner of a pizza place in Philly.
Mason Wartman was working on Wall Street when he decided it was time to do something he had only dreamed about–start his own business. So he moved back to his hometown of Philadelphia and opened a dollar pizza store in late 2013. He even named it after his mother, Rosa.
Several months later, Wartman says a customer asked him if it was possible to pre-purchase a slice for the next person who walks in and is short on cash. Wartman not only agreed, he went out and bought some post-it notes. Then he started telling other customers that they too could pre-purchase slices and leave a handwritten message on a post-it note for those who would appreciate the free food.
The walls of Rosa’s are now filled with messages of encouragement and even humor from people who’ve chosen to pick up the tab for others. Wartman says, “We’ve given away 9,000 slices to homeless people. That’s 9,000 dollars of business that we obviously otherwise wouldn’t have gotten sold.”
It certainly has been a win-win for the business owner and his growing clientele. Of course, as Wartman acknowledges, what really helped his business to double or even triple was being invited on the Ellen show and presented with a $10,000 check to be used for more pre-purchased pizza.
For someone like Michael Rodriguez, whose been homeless, the free slices and heart-warming messages have served as nourishment for both the body and soul. He says his favorite note reads: “I’ve been where you’re at—believe in God, do the right thing, trust me your miracle will come—it just takes time.” And sure enough, his life did take a turn for the better. Rodriguez just started a new job and is saving up money to get his own place.
Those who have left messages at Rosa’s will especially appreciate what Rodriguez says they’ve meant to him: “Going through this, you get kind of depressed sometimes. So you need some inspiring words—and coming from someone you don’t even know is even more inspiring.”
Join us in sending a Good for You Message to Mason Wartman and all of Rosa’s customers who’ve contributed a dollar and a personal note to add to the well-being of others.
Photo Credit: CNN Money, 2/24/15