For nearly 15 years, a Wendy’s cashier named Ishmael Mohammed Jr. served up smiles along with his cheeseburgers, brightening the days of students at the University of Texas at Austin as they toiled through their undergrad studies. But when circumstances left Mohammed down on his luck, it was the students who wanted to do something special for him.
As the Daily Texan reports, the man affectionately known as “The Wendy’s Guy” was a campus legend and inspired a documentary about his record-breaking fast food feat in 2005 when he made 246 sales for $1,035.43 in half an hour. In 2012, he left his job and to go back to his hometown of New York. No one had heard from him since, until he was spotted by UT alum Benjamin McPhaul. The much-loved former fast food worker was homeless and begging for money in front of a local cafe.
Springing to action, McPhaul set up a GoFundMe fundraiser that soon went completely viral. In less than three days, 1,500 UT students and alumni pitched in more than $30,000 to get their friend off the streets. Some even offered to help get Mohammed a job. As McPhaul wrote on the website, he is currently working with case workers and lawyers to help get the donations to Mohammed and help him find an apartment.
“If this money comes through, I want to get off the street; I’m tired of being homeless,” a grateful Mohammed told the Daily Texan. “I want to give some of it to my daughters and son, and come here and thank [the community.]”