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Dairy Queen worker's good deed goes viral

Sep. 19, 2013 at 5:41 PM ET

Video: Dairy Queen manager Joey Prusak of Minnesota is being called a hero after refusing to serve a woman he saw stealing $20 from a blind man who had unknowingly dropped the cash. Prusak gave the woman an ultimatum: Return the money or leave. When she chose the latter, the 19-year-old stepped in and gave the man $20 from his own pocket.

A Minnesota Dairy Queen manager is getting widespread kudos for an act of kindness that required giving one customer the deep freeze treatment after some questionable behavior.

Joey Prusak had just finished serving one of his regular customers when the visually impaired man unknowingly dropped a $20 bill from his pocket. A woman in line behind him quickly picked up the money – and then put it in her purse.

"She picked it up so quickly that I thought she was going to give it back but she just stood there and waited," Prusak told TODAY.com. "I was extremely confused when she let the man walk by. She just stood there and put it in her purse and I was like, 'Really?'

Prusak, 19, said the experience left him feeling "violated." After taking a few seconds to compose himself, he politely asked the woman to give the money back. The woman refused, insisting the money was hers. Prusak asked her again but got the same response.

That's when Prusak asked the woman to leave. 

"She made a big scene, but I told her I couldn't serve her, so she stormed out," he said. 

"Everyone that was in the store at the time was kind of in shock. They just looked at each other like, 'did that really happen?' and kept to ourselves," he said. 

Not everyone. One of the customers who witnessed the scene wrote about it in a letter to Prusak's boss, commending the employee for his composure and especially for what he did once the woman left.

"Your employee approached the man and took out his wallet and said, 'Sir, on behalf of the Dairy Queen, I would like to give you the $20 you dropped on the ground as you walked away from the counter,” according to the letter, which was sent by an anonymous writer.

The customer sent the note to the owner of the store where Prusak has worked for the past five years, since he was 14. The store owner printed out the note, which was soon posted by a co-worker on his Facebook page. Eventually, the message made its way around the Internet and got picked up on Reddit.

Prusak, who is studying business management at the local community college, is taking all the attention in modest stride. He said the store's owner has called the international Dairy Queen office, hoping executives there will reward Prusak, who races cars as a hobby, by sponsoring a NASCAR vehicle he wants to buy. "I didn't expect it to go anywhere. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't tell my boss. I didn't even tell my own parents," he said. "A lot of people are saying 'thank you' for what I did. Just telling me that means a lot."


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