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Fargo restaurant owners noticed someone going through their trash, so they responded with a message

A recent post on Twitter from Rachel Nistler is drawing attention to Little Caesars, 1020 19th Ave. N., Fargo, and how it decided to respond to homeless people looking for food in its trash. Special to Forum News Service1 / 2
A donation box and message is seen Feb. 3, 2017, at Little Caesars, 1020 19th Ave. N., Fargo. Forum News Service file photo2 / 2

FARGO—A local restaurant is getting some online love for its response to people digging through the trash.

Rachel Nistler posted a photo to Twitter on Sunday, Aug. 27, of a sign that she said made her "very impressed" with Little Caesars, 1020 19th Ave. N.

The sign is addressed to "the person going through our trash for their next meal," but it's the rest of the message that earned Nistler's post nearly 150 retweets and 900 likes by Tuesday morning, Aug. 29.

"You're a human being and worth more than a meal from a dumpster. Please come in during operating hours for a couple of slices of hot pizza and a cup of water at no charge. No questions asked."

The first two lines of the note are the same as one that went viral two years ago when it was posted to P.B. Jams in Warr Acres, Okla. That message went on to invite people to come in for a sandwich, fresh veggies and a cup of water.

Nistler told The Forum she'd prefer that the "goodness" of the Little Caesars sign get attention rather than her tweet.

Mike Stevens and his wife, Jenny Stevens, opened the business in May 2015. It's not the first time their restaurant has been noticed for giving to the homeless.

An article published by The Forum in February described how it provides free pizza to Fargo's Salvation Army and New Life Center, and Moorhead's Dorothy Day House.

Stevens said the restaurant makes $5 pizzas that are ready to be served to customers during business hours. After 30 minutes, pizzas that aren't sold are put in a freezer until one of the homeless shelters picks them up.

More than 15 percent of customers also leave their change in a collection box to buy even more pizzas for the shelters, he said. Since opening, the restaurant has donated more than 90,000 slices.

Stevens admitted he was confused the first time he saw people digging through the trash in the parking lot, wondering if they were employees of another nearby business. When he figured out they were hungry, he said he had to help.

"It's kind of sad when you see people going through the dumpster looking for food," he said. "In a place like Fargo where we have a great economy and a lot of abundance, it still happens here."

Stevens said he put the sign up a few months ago to offer dignity to those in need, not draw attention to his business. At first, he worried customers might not appreciate the effort.

"We have never one time had a negative comment about it, only positives," he said.