MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – If you need proof that the golden rule is still alive and well in Oklahoma, just look to four-year-old old Houston Smith.
Houston and his dad, Austin Smith, are regulars at the Arby’s restaurant at 1700 South Air Depot in Midwest City. But little Houston saw something recently that he’d never seen before – a man experiencing homelessness, sitting outside.
Karla Irving and Alicia Williams were eating lunch in a booth nearby when the women overheard the father-and-son conversation.
“Whenever we came in there was a man that was sitting outside. And Houston kept asking his dad, ‘What’s that guy sitting out there for?'” Karla said. “He said, ‘Well, he’s homeless, that’s why he’s sitting out there.’ And so, Houston said, ‘Doesn’t he have any money for food or anything?’ His dad said, ‘No, he’s homeless so he doesn’t have any money or anything,'” she said.
The women were stunned by what happened next.
“And he took $5 out of his pocket and he told his daddy to open the door for him because he had his hands behind his back, you know, he had the 5, and he walked up to the homeless guy and he smiled real big and handed it to him so he could get some lunch. It was too cute,” Karla said.
“And that homeless man was out there and he just smiled from ear to ear,” Alicia said. “It was amazing, it put tears in our eyes.”
Houston’s $5 allowance was originally destined for a toy store, but was instead generously given to the hands of someone in need.
“For kids to give money to somebody to eat over toys, that’s really, really…” Karla said. Alicia chimed in, “That’s amazing!”
That’s why the women nominated Houston and his dad for a $400 Pay it 4ward award from First Fidelity Bank’s Aubree Williams.
“We were so excited to hear about this Pay It 4Ward because it’s not so often that you hear of someone so young who already has such a giving heart,” Aubree said.
When our news crew, along with Karla and Alicia, first surprised Houston and his dad at Arby’s with the $400, Houston was way too shy to even make eye contact.
“You’re so adorable, and we think you’re great – wait!” Karla said, as Houston hid his face on his dad’s shoulder. “Look at the dollars, look look look, look at the dollars.” Karla ended up counting out the cash to Austin. “1, 2, 3, and 400, and that’s on behalf of First Fidelity Bank,” Karla said.
“Yes ma’am, thank you very much,” Austin said smiling.
After opening the gifts Alicia and Karla brought to replace the toys Houston had planned to buy with his allowance, Houston really warmed up when he learned how to shoot flying rubber chickens across the roast beef restaurant with his dad.
“Great catch, Dada!” Houston said.
Arby’s, too, had their own gift for Houston, on behalf of the Flynn Restaurant Group.
“We just got a swag bag, we’ve got an Arby’s bag, we got him a nice little hat, we got him a couple cups in here,” said district manager District Manager Deontae Blackmon.
Also inside – 50 free Arby’s meals.
“Oh wow! Wow, that’s going to help us out a lot,” Austin said.
As the saying by Angela Schwindt goes, “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” And Houston is a prime example.
“So proud, so proud, I’m so lucky to be his dad,” Austin said.
On the day our camera crew was there, the man whom Houston helped could not be found. Arby’s tells us he comes in often, and that employees give him food and water, and have even paid for hotel rooms for the man during the coldest winter months.
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Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.