Don Carter decided to pull up to a Popeyes drive-through one evening after a long and tiring day.
But what followed was a series of events that changed Carter’s life and that of Shajuana May, the lady who ended up taking his order.
After noticing May looked tired, Carter — who lives in Kansas City, Mo. — offered some words of encouragement. This prompted a short conversation where May shared that the Popeyes job was her only source of income, and that she wanted to go to nursing school.
“What I learned of her in that short conversation lingered in my heart and mind and I wanted to help her,” he told ESSENCE. “Why? Maybe because I realized we were the same. I knew what it was like to want to grow, to break free from an undesirable circumstance, to see if I have what it takes to live the dreams that were in my heart. I felt that from her."
With this in mind, Carter decided he would try help her go to nursing school. He logged on to his Facebook account and shared his experience, before a friend prompted him to open a GoFundMe page for May.
Once he set it up, he quickly exceeded his initial goal of $1,500 in less that 24 hours. And when he raised that goal, he continued to receive donations, exceeding $15,000.
“We were present. And that short human interaction again changed both us,” he told ESSENCE.
Carter then went back to Popeyes to surprise May with the news. Watch the beautiful surprise here:
“For her, it would change the trajectory of her life and career,” he said. “For me, it was change my understanding about what it means to be kind to others and how such a small, simple act can cause a ripple effect greater than I could have ever expected.”