North Carolina restaurant offers a 15 percent discount to pray in public

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A Winston-Salem restaurant is giving customers a 15 percent discount if they pray in public.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem gives the discount for anyone who takes the time to appreciate their food before digging in. Although the restaurant has been offering the special for four years, a recent Facebook post featuring a receipt with the discount has gone viral, highlighting the practice.

Jordan Smith was on a business trip when she got her discount. She told HLN that she and her colleagues “prayed over our meal and the waitress came over at the end of the meal and said, “Just so you know, we gave you a 15 percent discount for praying.”

Some have speculated it was an Internet hoax, yet owner Mary Haglund told that this is the real deal.

“It’s about the whole idea of gratitude,” she said. “It’s not a religious thing, it’s a spiritual thing.”

She says getting the “prayer discount” is simple. Anyone who comes into the eatery –which specializes in farm-to-table comfort food – seen “having a moment” gets 15 percent off the bill. They don’t advertise it, nor do they tell the customers ahead of time. They just deliver the bill with the price reduction.

“It’s not a policy and we do it very randomly,” Haglund says, who notes that there are people who don’t agree with the practice and that they don’t make them to enforce it.

Haglund, 60, the daughter of a preacher and a missionary, spent her teen years in the Philippines where she said she saw poverty. She says today she’s not a religious person, rather a spiritual person, and stresses that those who see every plate of food as a gift should be rewarded.

“I’m so grateful for the beautiful food,” she says.

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