B.C. A&W helps keep homeless people warm

Restaurant offers daytime warmth, coffee for people who have no place else to go

Jestony Pagdunzolan says it’s the least the restaurant can do.

As manager of the Salmon Arm A&W, he’s referring to the way the restaurant treats homeless people, treatment that has been noticed by community members.

When homeless folks come in and have a coffee at A&W, they’re welcome to stay as long as they like in order to stay warm.

“It’s the least we can do to help those guys,” Pagdunzolan says. “When it’s extremely cold you’ve seen them sitting out there. I’ve heard some stories they won’t allow them inside restaurants.”

He says he’s never been homeless, but he knows what it’s like to struggle. He came to B.C. from the Philippines in 2012.

“In the Philippines, my two-month paycheque here was my one-year pay. I know how hard life can be.”

Read more: Salmon Arm supports a good cause during Coldest Night of the Year

Most of the homeless folks who come to the restaurant want to pay for their own coffee, and then get the free refills offered after that.

“They don’t want to be treated like the homeless one, they want to be a regular customer.”

Pagdunzolan explains that he’s told them that as long as there are no issues that bother other customers – such as being loud – they’re welcome to stay as long as they want. He says they’ve been good, wanting to return the favour.

Read more: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

There was an incident involving someone coming in from outside and starting an altercation – he thinks maybe a drug dealer. He called police to get rid of him.

“Those homeless guys, I realize it’s not their choice that they’re homeless,” he says, noting that such a fate can happen to anyone.

He’s noticed that the homeless folks who come in help each other.

He and his staff were moved when they received a big Christmas card thanking them for their kindness, signed by The Homeless Family.

“Simple things like that, make your job better.”

Read more: Strangers chip in to provide support for homeless in Shuswap

The kindness has inspired other customers at A&W. A selection of toques were brought in that the restaurant could distribute. Someone saw one of the homeless people drawing, so the customer brought in colouring materials to donate.

Pagdunzolan said he’s spoken to staff about making sure the homeless customers are treated like anyone else, that their perspective is considered.

“Would there be someone to help us (if we were in that situation)?” he asks. “It’s good to help others.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: No think-tank report cards for the Observer

Fraser Institute’s annual school ranking isn’t a good measure of success, editor Grace Kennedy writes

LETTER: Why is Jati Sidhu ashamed of his riding?

Lytton’s Christopher di Armani shares his dismay at the potential name change of the MP’s riding

Fraser-Cascade School Board votes to invest in protecting the future of its students’ hearing

Decibel monitors to be installed in secondary schools’ machine shops as a visual guide

Kent-Harrison Foundation celebrates 25 years

The foundation started in 1994 on the promise of a two-for-one donation deal

Bucket-list flight for Chilliwack grandmother

Hampton House resident treated to a beautiful plane ride in Moments that Matter

Harrison Hot Springs students bring ‘Twelfth Night’ to life

The adaption of Shakespeare’s classic comedy include songs and phrases from Canada’s east coast

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

B.C. doctor reprimanded for accessing medical records without consent

Doctor admits to accessing records of the woman carrying his child

Video service to compete with Netflix, Amazon expected from Apple on Monday

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline

Edmonton judge to rule on whether Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Canada’s top court ruled punishment handed Khadr for alleged acts committed in Afghanistan when he was 15 was to be a youth sentence

Kootenay city councillor starts nationwide climate caucus for municipal politicians

Climate Leadership Caucus has 57 members including seven mayors

Trudeau delivers campaign-style speech while introducing candidate Taggart

The Order of British Columbia recipient said she wants to be the people’s voice in Ottawa

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

Most Read