9-year-old boy pays for Irma evacuee's lunch: 'I felt like I should help'
"I didn't want them to waste their money on food," Landon Routzong said.
— -- A 9-year-old Alabama boy didn't want a Florida evacuee to worry about lunch ahead of Hurricane Irma, so he paid for his meal with the help of his proud mother.
Tara Parker Routzong told ABC News her son Landon noticed Friday that the car in front of them at their local Chick-fil-A had a Florida license plate, and the two figured the driver was an evacuee.
"I didn’t want them to waste their money on food because they’re trying to escape the hurricane," Landon Routzong, 9, said. "I felt like I should help out."
The Troy, Alabama, restaurant is on the evacuation route from Florida, Chick-fil-A director of operations Savannah Smith told ABC News.
The Chick-fil-A on Highway 231 has seen an increase in customers since local evacuation advisories were issued earlier this week, she added. Smith said the restaurant had wanted to "do something for everyone that came in our store" but weren't able to.
"So he asked if he could pay for the meal and of course I agreed," Routzong said of her son.
"The man ... left his home in Miami and was passing through to go stay with family in Birmingham," the mother wrote in a now-viral Facebook post that's garnered more than 1,000 reactions.
Landon and I both had tears in our eyes from how appreciative he was.
After Routzong told Smith, who's worked for the restaurant since 2013, of their plan, Smith informed them that since the evacuee was in the car ahead of them, they'd have to reach the window before he did to execute their kind deed.
Routzong then told her son: "Here's my debit card. Run!" And he did.
"He went up to the window and asked the gentleman in the car if he minded if he paid his meal," the mother recalled. "The man said yes and thanked him and shook his hand."
"I was really proud of him for doing that," she said of her normally shy son.
Routzong added that the unidentified man also pulled over and thanked her, confirming that he was an evacuee. Afterward, she said, she and her son were "almost in tears."
"I told him we hoped he returned to his house untouched and that we'd keep him in our thoughts," the mother wrote on Facebook. "Landon and I both had tears in our eyes from how appreciative he was."
Routzong added: "I often feel like I'm failing because I can't do it all, all the time and then things like this happen and remind me that I don't have to. My most important job is going just fine."