The Other Side of the Story - Bonds of Friendship
Feeding You A Whopper II
To install a new driveway at a gasoline station he owned, my dad hired some day laborers. At midday the laborers said they wanted to be paid half their day's wage to buy lunch. My father knew these men to be derelicts and alcoholics. He feared that if he paid them anything they would take the money to the nearest bar and he would never see them again. Instead he offered to buy them lunch and he would pay for it.
As he was leaving to get them lunch he asked my zaydeh (grandfather) if he would like to go along. My zaydeh got in the car and my father drove off. When he pulled into a nearby McDonald's my zaydeh said, "What are we doing here?" Dad explained he was only getting lunch for the workers.
Zaydeh said "you can't go in there, its ma'aris ayin (forbidden due to appearance)." Dad said, "If I don't get them lunch, I'll lose them and the whole job will have to be re-done, and besides no Jews ever come out here to the Northeast end of town." With Zaydeh protesting, Dad bought the laborers lunch.
Months later Dad is speaking to a fellow he grew up with but hasn't spoken to in years. His old friend says: "I've got to ask you a question. Do you still keep kosher?"
"Of course," Dad answers.
His friend continues: "You know it's sad that all of us kids from the old neighborhood are no longer observant, but I always thought that at least you still are. Then a few months ago when I had a job out in the Northeast side of town I saw you coming out of McDonald's. I felt really sad..."
Ohr Somayach alumnus '76-'80, now a Rabbi in Atlanta.
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