A Chick-fil-A employee who showed up to work in a neck brace and sling is inspiring people around the world over his commitment to serving others.
A GoFundMe page has raised more than $11,000 to show support for Indiana teen Jakeem Tyler after his eagerness to work, despite his injuries, revealed a personal mission to raise money for the homeless this holiday season.
Tyler, an 18-year-old high school senior, had been in a car accident just days before diner Cameron Nelson captured a now-viral photo of him bandaged up behind the Indianapolis-area restaurant’s cash register.
The two got to talking. Nelson was so inspired by the teen’s work ethic and desire to help others that he shared Tyler’s story on Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page.
“He said he was involved in a car accident, but he was working cause (sic) he needs the money & also wants to feed the homeless for Christmas & needs the cash,” Nelson wrote in the now viral post. “We sneeze too hard & decide to call in, but he’s workin (sic) like nothing’s wrong.”
Reached by The Huffington Post Tuesday, Tyler confirmed his goal.
“I was working to use my own money to feed the homeless in the surrounding areas downtown, [through] various shelters,” he said.
“Since I was seven my family and I were feeding the homeless in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after service on Sundays,” he added. “My faith guides me in everything I do. I’ve always had a heart to give and wanted to share God’s love to everyone.”
Tyler’s boss, Chris Tincher, who owns the Chick-fil-A, said that’s wasn’t surprised by his employee’s big heart.
“Faith is very important to him,” he told HuffPost while also commending the teen’s family. “They believe in giving back and serving others and it’s really part of his heart.”
“They believe in giving back and serving others and it’s really part of his heart.” - Chris Tincher, Jakeem Tyler's boss
After Tyler’s accident, Tincher said he had been cleared to return to work by his doctors and that the sling and neck brace were mostly cautionary, so he didn’t further injure himself.
“He enjoys his work and wanted to come back and be with the team,” Tincher said. “We’re very proud of him.”
As it turns out, hundreds of other people are impressed by him too.
More than 500 people have made a donation to help support the teen through the GoFundMe account as of Wednesday morning.
Some of the comments on Nelson’s Facebook post include ones from people who say they know or have met the teen and his selfless act matches up with the person they know.
On Saturday, Nelson updated his Facebook post to share that after reaching the fundraising target of $2,500 he had been in touch with Tyler’s parents and given them access to the funds.
“It was a humbling experience for him to start the GoFundMe page for me,” Tyler said of Nelson. “I truly desire to live up to the expectations to all that have donated.”
As for what Tyler plans to do with the money raised, he said: “I plan to feed the homeless downtown, multiple times.”