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.