Mason Warton didn't get into business to make a difference in the world, but now that he has, he wouldn't have it any other way.
The 26-year-old opened up a pizza shop in Philadelphia last year as a new business venture after working in finance on Wall Street, and when a customer offered to pay-it-forward and buy a slice for a homeless person, he turned it into a trend.
Charging only a dollar per slice, Mason encouraged other people to similarly buy pizza for someone in need, and stuck a post-it note on his wall to signify the gesture every time someone did.
Nearly 8,500 slices later, the walls of Rosa's Fresh Pizza are covered in post-its and the act of kindness has turned into a daily routine.
"I see every day how many people it helps," Mason tells Ellen's Good News. "This could become a hugely powerful force for feeding people in need. People have suggested I raise my price, but that's a short term way of looking at it… when I started this I wanted to make money, and now we break even, we can cover our bills. I was making more at previous jobs, but if all of a sudden we ran out of post-it notes and I had to turn a homeless person away, that would ruin my day."
Over the course of eight months, Mason has served thousands of homeless people. He estimates serving 30-40 people a day, and while it may seem like a small, simple gesture, it can have a big impact.
"One of the first homeless people that came in… he recently told me he got a job. He said, because of this program, he saved a couple bucks every day, got a suit, got a haircut, and got an interview," Mason recalls. "Now he's working."
He adds, "A number of homeless people come in, get a slice regularly, then they come in another day, and all of a sudden say, 'No no, I'm buying it today.' They get internships, they get jobs, and they share their extra dollars. That's the general pattern I've found."
A little really can go a long, long way!
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