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

Talking about diversity in Mission

Eighth annual Cycling4Diversity ride takes place Friday, ending at Mission City Hall

Loading zones in downtown Mission not necessary says DBA president

They take away much-needed parking spots from potential customers according to business association

Sunset Market returns to Mission’s Fraser River Heritage Park

First market takes plac May 21, followed by June 18, July 16 and August 20 from 5-9 p.m.

Vandals splash paint across new inclusion walkway

The rainbow coloured area in front of the Mission Public Schools office was damaged early Thursday

Chilliwack garden party planned for African organization

Christa Roby of Health in Motion for Africa back home for fundraiser

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Cloverdale Rodeo competition promises to be a ‘nail-biter’ this weekend

New challengers giving returning champions a run for their money

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read