Reward For Reflection

by Daniel Schere

In the course of 72 hours restaurant owner Mary Haglund, owner of Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, has become the talk of the town and the country.

Haglund appeared on NBC’s Today show Monday after a customer posted a photo over the weekend of their receipt that included a 15 percent discount on their meal for praying in public. She said the idea came four years ago when her daughter was inspired by a couple that would eat in the restaurant at night.

“There was a little couple that used to come here so faithfully,” Haglund said. “And they always would say grace. I don’t know who they were praying to or what they were doing, but they would acknowledge gratefulness for their food. And my daughter was so touched by that because they were someone that was supporting us at night when we weren’t getting a lot of support.”

Her daughter decided to create the discount specifically for the couple and didn’t even tell the wait staff. Haglund explained that the restaurant offers a number of discounts, and that the prayer discount is not advertised because it is not meant to be a sales pitch, but rather an expression of gratitude for people willing to take a moment and appreciate their food.

“It was just someone being grateful,” she said. “And we were just showing we were grateful to them for being grateful. So that’s how it started.”

Haglund said the discount is not specific to any religion, as long as the customer expresses some form of reflection before eating, and she hopes people don’t read too much into it.

“There’s been a lot of negativity on the internet,” she said. “I don’t even read those things. I don’t really care what those people think. They’re not my people. It’s kind of sad to me that people can take something that’s so positive and turn it into something really hateful and negative, but that’s their problem, right.”