MCKINNEY, Texas — The pandemic has forced some locally owned businesses to close their doors. For one North Texas restaurant owner, he’s finding ways to overcome these challenges and continues to serve free meals to those who need them.
Ram Mehta now operates two businesses: La Meglio in Plano and Firo Fire Kissed Pizza in McKinney.
“I get to meet a lot of amazing people. It’s all like a big extended family,” says Ram Mehta, Everyone Eatz Founder.
Before customers order at the counter, they’re greeted with a sign on the door.
It says, “If you are Hungry, Homeless or Can’t afford a meal. Please honor us by stopping by during business hours for couple of slices of Hot Pizza & Fountain Drink at No Charge. If any employee here doesn’t treat you with same respect as a paying customer. Please Call Ram directly at 469-494-9555. No questions no judgement. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you. God Bless You.”
“At one point in my life I was homeless, and my mom basically wanted to tell me ‘never forget where you came from,’” said Ram Mehta, Everyone Eats Movement.
These are words he took to heart. So, he posted this sign to his restaurants' front doors as a reminder.
“She asked me what if someone is hungry and they can’t afford it?" Mehta said.
It honors his mother, Lata Mehta. She passed away three years ago.
“She always taught me, it’s not about how you help people, but the respect you show,” Mehta says.
A kind gesture called “Everyone Eatz” bloomed into a movement bigger than Ram ever imagined. He started holding events throughout Texas and has provided more than a half a million free meals and more.
“We started giving out cars to single moms, we started paying for rent for a few people, we started giving backpacks, toys for Christmas. So it’s just about helping your neighbor,” he said.
Friends and strangers started helping his cause. Despite closing one of his restaurants during the pandemic, his mission remains open.
"If I can make one person smile, I’ve done my job,” he explains.
“Everyone Eatz” is still being shared online social media thousands of times, and Ram doesn’t do it for recognition.
“It’s the right thing to do and I want to set an example for my kids,” he said.
An example he hopes will inspire others to pay it forward. It’s already working. He says restaurants in Wisconsin and Florida have reached out asking to adopt the movement and help people in their communities.