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Paying it Forward with Pancakes

It was the winter of 1991, and everything I owned was packed into my little car for the drive to Fort Worth, Texas. My seminary tuition was covered and I had a place to live, but that was it.

I soon found a part time job that paid $425 per month. However, my car payment was $144, my share of the rent was $118, and the cost of mandatory health insurance was $80 per month. That left $83 for everything else.

I lived on campus, so gassing up the car wasn’t a burden. But finding enough money for food was a challenge! I quickly learned to get creative with the meal budget. A bread store up the street sold off-date pastries for a steep discount. Breakfast covered. My mom agreed to put $50 a month into my account at the seminary cafeteria. Lunch covered. But what about supper?

A guy from the dormitory told me about this hole-in-the-wall barbeque place a few streets over. “Go to Carl’s,” he said. “Ask for the all-you-can-eat pancakes for $1.50.”

One Friday afternoon, near the end of the month, my rumbling stomach made me take my friend’s advice. I walked into the little restaurant with my head down. The air was thick with the smell of slow-smoked meat. “Pancakes at a barbeque joint? It’s gotta be a joke,” I thought.

But Carl’s son, who manned the grill, could spot a poor graduate student a mile away. “Hey preacher boy, want some pancakes?” I’m smiling now, head up, “Yes sir!”.

Kind reader, I had to stop typing for a moment–to wipe away the tears. I thank God for Carl Wilson, who served many a hungry seminarian all the pancakes they could eat– for $1.50.

I’ve tried to “pay it forward” ever since.

Thank you for reading. 🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Photo by Desativado on

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

36 replies on “Paying it Forward with Pancakes”

Me too. My father, a math teacher, used to tell me: “Son, people either multiply, add, subtract, or divide in life. Try to stay away from the last two.”
Thank you for sharing. I am grateful for your blog ministry!

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Beautiful! And I’m sure someone, somewhere, now tells a similar story about kindnesses you’ve shown, as you’ve paid it forward.

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This reminded me of when I was a student living in Minneapolis the winter of 93/94/ The McDonalds there had a special for the month of December buy one quarter pounder or quarter pounder with cheese and get the second one for the price of what the temperature was the day before. It did not get above zero even during the day the whole month, so it was buy one get one free. As students, we went there every day. After that, I never wanted to eat burgers from McDonalds again lol

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What a lovely story David, it reminded me of a lovely old lady from Falkirk Salvation Army who looked after me and another brother in her home when we were visiting the town for outreach. Such service is precious indeed. God bless you today brother 🙏

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Thanks, Betty. I don’t cry easily, but recalling this story brought on the tears. It’s been 30 years. I wonderful if the restaurant is still there? I’d like to stop by and put some $ in the tip jar. Have a blessed day!

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David, this is a beautiful story. There are so many “Carl Wilson’s” out there, we just don’t hear about them. Paying it forward is a wonderful way to honor him. Situations like yours in 1991 teach us compassion, and seeing the generosity of others inspires it in ourselves. Now, I’m hungry for pancakes!

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