Donations pour in to help beloved ‘Wendy’s Guy’ get back on his feet

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News

In February 2012, Ishmael Mohammed, Jr., known as "The Wendy's Guy," left Austin, Texas, for his hometown in New York.

"Junior," the long-time employee at the Wendy's restaurant in the University of Texas at Austin's student union, had been a favourite on campus. The speedy server — in 2005, he broke a world record for most sales at a fast-food restaurant in 30 minutes — was known to serve up orders with the catchphrases "Touchdown, baby" and "Let's kick ass."

In 2006, a short documentary about his record-breaking sales premiered at South By Southwest.

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In 2012, the Austin Chronicle named him "Best Fast-Food Superstar" for doing "the work of 20 men."

Last week, a University of Texas alumni ran into Junior, back in Austin after a two-year absence. He was asking for spare change.

"It took me a moment, and then I knew it was Junior," Benjamin McPhaul recalled. "He told me his mom had died and that he was homeless."

McPhaul quickly set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help lift Junior's spirits and "to get Junior back on his feet." He set the initial goal for $2,000.

"I want to make sure the money goes to help him better his life," McPhaul told the Alcade. "He's a great guy and it just makes sense to help him. He made going to Wendy’s really fun."

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In two days, the campaign raised more than $30,000 from 1,532 different donors.

McPhaul is now working with a caseworker and attorneys to help secure Junior a furnished apartment.

According to KVUE, thanks to the campaign, Junior has received several job offers.

"I think any business would be lucky to have Junior. He's a living legend in the Austin community," said McPhaul.