- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2014

A North Carolina restaurant is offering a 15 percent discount to customers who publicly give thanks for their meal with prayer.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem has been offering the discount for four years, but a recent Facebook post showing a receipt with the discount has gone viral, drawing special attention to the restaurant, Fox News reported Friday.

One customer told the news agency that she visited the restaurant during a business trip. Jordan Smith said she and her colleagues prayed over our meal, and the waitress came over at the end of the meal and said, “Just so you know, we gave you a 15 percent discount for praying.”

A Facebook image of a receipt with the prayer discount posted by a Florida radio station has received over 8,300 likes.

The restaurant owner, Mary Haglund, told Fox News that the discount was given to those who took the time to appreciate their food.

“It’s about the whole idea of gratitude,” she said. “It’s not a religious thing; it’s a spiritual thing.”

Ms. Haglund, 60, the daughter of a preacher and a missionary, said that any person who comes to the diner and is seen “having a moment” can get the discount.

“There’s a lot of craziness going on in regard to the 15% discount,” Ms. Haglund posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Friday. “I will say that it is not a ‘policy.’ It’s a gift we give at random to customers who take a moment before their meal. I have lived in a Third World country [where] people are starving. We live in a country with an abundance of beautiful food. I NEVER take that for granted. It warms my heart to see people with an attitude of gratitude.”