No phones, scripted tweets: How Trump’s Afghanistan trip was kept under wraps

No phones, scripted tweets: How Trump’s Afghanistan trip was kept under wraps
By Humeyra Pamuk

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Notorious for leaks and chastened by previous security lapses, the White House went to unusual lengths to keep President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving trip to Afghanistan under wraps, devising a cover story for his movements that included posting scripted tweets while he was in the air, administration officials said.

On Thursday, Trump dropped in unannounced on troops at Afghanistan’s Bagram military air base in his first trip to the country and only his second to a war zone during his presidency. He served soldiers a turkey dinner and posed for selfies, before telling reporters that the United States and Taliban hoped to resume peace talks. [nL1N2880NT]

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the 33-hour roundtrip, which White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said had been weeks in the making, was the administration’s success in keeping it secret until shortly before the president left Afghanistan to return home.

Frequently wrong-footed by leaks and Trump’s freewheeling use of Twitter, the White House informed only a tight circle of officials about the trip.

On Tuesday, Trump travelled to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as scheduled, accompanied by the regular caravan of reporters which follows the president on all trips.

When those journalists waited for him to emerge for a Thursday afternoon conference call with the troops, per his official schedule, they learnt that overnight he had flown the 13,400 km (8,331 miles) to Afghanistan to visit them in person.

“It is a dangerous area and he wants to support the troops,” Grisham told a small group of correspondents aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening, explaining why the White House had concealed Trump’s true movements.

Only hours before, that second group of reporters had secretly gathered at a parking lot near the Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, a regular departure spot for Trump, from which they were driven in minivans into the complex.

They had been told ahead of time that Trump would be travelling incognito to an undisclosed location.

Once inside the base, all smart phones and any devices that could send a signal were confiscated and not returned until at least two hours after Trump’s arrival at Bagram, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.

Throughout the 13-hour flight, nobody on board Air Force One had access to their phones, including White House staff, Grisham said. The cabin lights were mostly switched off and window blinds stayed shut.

Last Christmas, en route to a troop visit in Iraq, Air Force One was identified above England by a plane spotter who tweeted a photo of its distinctive turquoise livery, sparking a social media storm. Many speculated then that Trump was on his way to a war zone, pointing to his unusually quiet Twitter account, which had sent dozens of tweets the day before.

This time, Grisham said the White House made arrangements to ensure continuity in the president’s Twitter account, which posted happy Thanksgiving tweets as he was in the air, including one thanking the military.

“We just had a nice Thanksgiving dinner,” Trump said amid chants of “U-S-A” during his speech at the Bagram base.

“I thought I was going to be doing it someplace else.”

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Michelle Price and Daniel Wallis)

Storms snarl U.S. Thanksgiving travel, stranding cars and planes

Storms snarl U.S. Thanksgiving travel, stranding cars and planes
By Jane Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two winter storms blasted the United States on Wednesday, stranding motorists and causing thousands of flight delays as Americans jammed highways and airports to visit family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Scores of vehicles got stuck on Interstate 5 after a “bomb cyclone” – a supercharged winter storm caused by a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure – dumped up to four feet (1.2 meters) of snow in mountainous areas of the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ve been white knuckling it for the last four hours and sliding around the road,” said Lisa Chadwick after she stopped in Bend, Oregon, driving north from San Francisco. She had snowchains for her two-wheel drive car, but did not know how to put them on.

The U.S. Midwest was also hit hard by a storm that clobbered Denver on Tuesday, with airports in Minneapolis and Chicago suffering hundreds of delays and cancellations.

The storms hit on one of the busiest travel days of the year, with a near-record 55 million Americans set to journey at least 50 miles (80 km) for Thanksgiving on Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association.

After parts of Colorado got up to 30 inches (75 cm) of snow on Tuesday, Minneapolis was expected to get as much as 12 inches as the system slid east, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

The storm, which is packing high winds, will move across upper Michigan and upstate New York toward central Maine, which could get 6 to 10 inches of snow, the Weather Service forecast.

“LOTS OF HONKING”

On the West Coast, heavy rain threatened flash floods from San Diego to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles International Airport told domestic passengers to arrive three hours early as it expected 238,000 passengers and 113,000 vehicles on Wednesday.

“There has been definitely lots of honking, lots of near accidents that I’ve seen, for sure,” Daniel Julien, a 24-year-old paralegal from Pasadena, said after making it to the airport.

A silver lining was that rain doused the Cave Fire in Santa Barbara County, which charred 7 square miles (1,810 hectares) of brush and woodlands. But it brought evacuation warnings to thousands of residents in Santa Barbara suburbs for possible mudslides on fire-charred hills.

Across the country, 4,083 flights were delayed, and 148 were canceled into or out of the United States by 6.30 p.m. ET, with Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport tallying the most, according to FlightAware.com.

“There are apocalyptic storms all over the country and 50mph winds! Why would things not be the worst. Anyway pray 4 me,” said a Twitter user going by the name of Abigail H., who was leaving O’Hare on Wednesday.

The East Coast was largely unscathed, but wind gusts of up to 40 mph (64 km) forecast for Thursday morning threatened to sideline the Macy’s New York City Thanksgiving parade’s 16 giant balloons for safety reasons. Organizers have said they will make the decision on Thursday whether to go ahead.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Andrew Hay in Taos and Jane Ross in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio and Sonya Hepinstall)

Two powerful storms thrash U.S. as millions head to Thanksgiving celebrations

Two powerful storms thrash U.S. as millions head to Thanksgiving celebrations
(Reuters) – Two major winter storms thrashing the western two-thirds of the United States on Wednesday appear set to disrupt the travel plans of millions of Americans headed to Thanksgiving Day destinations on jam-packed highways and airplanes.

The first storm front was moving across the upper Midwest, where it was forecast to clobber parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota with almost a foot of snow (30 cm) and wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph), making travel difficult if not impossible, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

It also warned of possible winds of up to 60 mph (95 kph) and rainstorms across a wide swath of the central U.S. from western Texas up through Missouri and into Ohio on Wednesday, as millions will hit the roads and board airplanes for the holiday.

The treacherous weather jeopardized travel plans for some of the 55 million Americans expected to fly or drive at least 50 miles (80 km) from their homes for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, according to the American Automobile Association.

“It’s a real bummer,” said Ally Lytle, a 20-year-old student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, who will be unable to make 400-mile (645-km) road trip home to Jackson Hole after the storm swept through the area on Tuesday.

The storm had already closed highways across the region and canceled and delayed hundreds of flights in and out of Denver on Tuesday.

Wind gusts of more than 40 mph (65 kph) on the East Coast on Thursday may also ground the giant balloons featured during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the weather service said in an advisory.

“Look, I know this weather means people won’t get to see their families, might be stranded in airports, etc, and all of that is awful,” said Susan Arendt on Twitter. “But I’ll be really sad if the wind means no balloons in the Macy’s parade.”

The second storm was rapidly intensifying as it pushed toward Oregon and northern California, where damaging winds, coastal flooding and heavy mountain snows of up to 4 feet (120 cm) were forecast, the NWS said.

The front was also expected to dump heavy rain, threatening flash floods across southern California, from San Diego to Los Angeles, the weather service said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Many Americans’ Thanksgiving dream: a faux turkey in every pot

By Barbara Goldberg and Richa Naidu

(Reuters) – When American vegetarians, pescetarians and flexitarians sit down at the Thanksgiving table this week, there’s one thing many agree they would be thankful for: a tasty, plant-based alternative to turkey.

Wildly popular for their taste and texture, Impossible Burger, Beyond Burger and other plant-based alternatives have revolutionized the fake meat market, and now account for about 5 percent of U.S. meat purchases.

But when it comes to turkey, the traditional star of Thanksgiving feasts, nothing has drummed up the same level of shopper excitement and acceptance.

“I’d love to see an Impossible turkey by next Thanksgiving,” said Cordia Popp, 42, a vegetarian and stay-at-home mother of two who lives in upstate New York. The most authentic-tasting turkey alternative now on the market, Popp said, “doesn’t have that shred like real turkey has.”

Twenty-five years ago Tofurky, a tofu turkey, hit the market and now sells 400,000 roasts each holiday season. But many vegetarians say the search is still on for a plant-based alternative that hits the mark for turkey flavor and texture the same way plant-based options have nailed the beef target.

Beyond Meat urges fans to create holiday dishes from existing beef and sausage alternatives, while Impossible Foods told Reuters that a turkey alternative is among its long-term goals.

First to reach the finish line may be one of the major turkey producers, Butterball, Perdue Farms or Tyson Foods Inc. Each says it is developing vegetarian options as a growing number of Americans become so-called flexitarians, wading in and out of vegetarianism.

“Don’t be surprised if more protein options find their way onto future Thanksgiving tables,” a Tyson spokeswoman said. “We are looking at options across protein forms. We aren’t sharing future product roll out dates at this time.”

Bill See, a Perdue Farms spokesman, said, “We have something in the pipeline but (it’s) too early to talk about.”

Butterball will run limited tests of plant-based turkey options next year, said Jeff Mundt, vice president of research & development and innovation. Still, the company is confident that for many there is “no substitute for a tender and juicy turkey at the center of the holiday table,” Mundt said.

While Impossible and Beyond have aced the beef-like product for backyard burgers, the bar may be higher for a turkey-like product to grace Thanksgiving tables, said Mike Leonard, who leads research and development at plant-based food technology firm Motif FoodWorks.

“Thanksgiving is all about turkey,” said Leonard, whose company works with several U.S. vegan meat companies. He said no one yet has “cracked the code” on how to make a plant-based turkey that looks and feels and tastes like a real one.

Turkey consumption has remained relatively steady in the United States in recent years, with about 5 billion pounds (2.3 metric tons) of turkey consumed annually, according to Sue King, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Consumers looking for better taste and texture in a plant-based turkey alternative say they are motivated by concern for their own health, animal welfare and the environmental stresses of raising animals for meat.

The problem is often taste.

Michael Giulietti, a meat-eating fan of Impossible Burgers, is among those awaiting an appetizing breakthrough in turkey alternatives. While large-scale turkey producers have cornered the market on flavor, Giulietti said, he is troubled by their methods.

“Factory birds are mutants with huge breasts, but they are tastier,” said Giulietti, 32, a medical student advisor from Oregon. “I hope the Impossible turkey tastes like the factory-raised ones so I can have taste without ethical issues.”

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Additional reporting by Richa Naidu in Chicago; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

U.S. holiday shoppers spend record $126 billion online

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk through the King of Prussia Mall, United States' largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela

By Melissa Fares

(Reuters) – U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the 2018 holiday season, taking advantage of early discounts on Amazon.com and other websites and with more people using smartphones to place their orders, Adobe Analytics said on Tuesday.

Adobe, which collects its data by measuring 80 percent of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. web retailers, said the amount was 16.5 percent higher than last year’s total.

Mobile platforms made up 51 percent of traffic to retail websites during the November-December period and were responsible for nearly a third of all online spending.

Online shoppers spent $3.7 billion on Thanksgiving and $6.2 billion on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Cyber Monday the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday — was the biggest U.S. online shopping day ever, with $7.9 billion spent.

Top-selling items online were L.O.L. Surprise Fingerlings toys; Take-Two Interactive Software’s video game Red Dead Redemption 2; Nintendo’s Switch console; streaming devices; and Dell and Apple laptops, Adobe said.

Consumers spent an average 40 percent more per day during the three weeks after Cyber Monday than in the first three weeks of the season, Adobe said. Sales continued to grow until Dec. 17.

While the online sales figures showed how low U.S. unemployment rates and rising wages boosted consumer confidence during the holiday season, department stores continue to struggle.

Further, consumer confidence in 2019 is seen as likely to be strained by rising U.S. interest rates, the ongoing trade dispute with China, market volatility due to concerns over global growth and political deadlock in Washington.

Macy’s Inc shares plunged 18 percent on Thursday after the department store chain slashed its full-year profit and sales forecast on the back of an anemic holiday season.

Kohl’s Corp reported similarly muted comparable sales growth for the holidays, sending its shares down as much as 9 percent on Thursday. Shares of Target Corp were down nearly 4 percent even after the retailer posted relatively strong holiday sales growth of nearly 6 percent on Thursday.

Overall sales for the 2018 U.S. holiday shopping season rose 5.1 percent to over $850 billion, hitting a six-year high, as shoppers were encouraged by early discounts, according to a Mastercard report in late December.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Don’t eat romaine: U.S., Canada warn on E.coli in lettuce

FILE PHOTO - Romaine lettuce grows near Soledad, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Fiala

(Reuters) – Public health officials in the United States and Canada on Tuesday warned against eating romaine lettuce while they investigate an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened 50 people in the two countries, including 13 who were hospitalized.

The alerts, issued as millions of Americans plan their Thanksgiving Day menus, covered all forms of romaine, including whole heads, hearts, bags, mixes and Caesar salad.

Officials were uncertain of the source of the tainted lettuce.

“Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in its food safety alert.

Refrigerator drawers and shelves where romaine lettuce had been stored should be sanitized, the CDC said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, which is investigating 18 of the E. coli cases, directed its romaine lettuce alert at consumers in Ontario and Quebec.

In the United States, the CDC said the outbreak affected 32 people in 11 states between Oct. 8 and 31. No deaths have been reported, it said.

Symptoms of the infection often include a moderate fever, severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is often bloody, the CDC said. Most people get better in five to seven days, but it can be life-threatening, it said.

The agency said the current outbreak is unrelated to another multi-state rash of E. coli infections related to romaine lettuce earlier this year that left five people dead and sickened nearly 200.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC traced the origin of that contamination to irrigation water in the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Survivors find reasons to be thankful after deadly California fire

After their home in Paradise was destroyed by the Camp Fire, Orin and Sonya Butts shop for new clothing for their son, Landyn, 3, in Chico, California, U.S., November 18, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

By Terray Sylvester

CHICO, Calif. (Reuters) – Most years, Kelly Doty marked Thanksgiving by delivering scores of meals to low-income families with children in the tight-knit Northern California mountain community of Paradise.

But after the Camp Fire all but incinerated the town of nearly 27,000 residents on Nov. 8, killing at least 77 people and leaving almost 1,000 missing, the family resources center where Doty worked as a director had to scrap the annual food drive.

After their home in Paradise was destroyed by the Camp Fire, Orin Butts shops for new household items with his wife, Sonya, their kids, Abby, 4, and Landyn, 3, and Sonya's grandmother, Yvonne Tranah, in Chico, California, U.S., November 18, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

After their home in Paradise was destroyed by the Camp Fire, Orin Butts shops for new household items with his wife, Sonya, their kids, Abby, 4, and Landyn, 3, and Sonya’s grandmother, Yvonne Tranah, in Chico, California, U.S., November 18, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

“All the families are displaced. There’s no houses to deliver boxes to,” Doty, 37, said by telephone from Battle Ground, Washington, where she and her two sons and boyfriend are staying with relatives.

She does not know the whereabouts of the 80 meals that staff at the Paradise Ridge Family Resource Center collected ahead of the holiday, or even if they survived the blaze.

Her house was reduced to rubble by the fire, as were the homes of the center’s three other employees.

Still, Doty said she had plenty to be thankful for. Her family survived and managed to escape with belongings such as family photos and children’s clothing. Many of her neighbors fled with only the clothes on their backs.

“I feel like I still have a lot,” Doty said.

In a twist, she said they were the ones receiving charity this year. During a visit to a Battle Ground pizza restaurant last week, the owner discovered they were Camp Fire evacuees and gave them a $100 gift card and $50 bottle of wine.

The band playing that night passed a tip jar around the room on their behalf, too. “It was just incredible, these people didn’t know us and they were donating money to us,” Doty said.

TURKEY IN THE PARK

For years in Chico, a few miles (km) west of Paradise, a 59-year-old homeless woman named “Mama” Rose Adams has served a Thanksgiving meal for homeless people in a park. She and her helpers buy some of the food from money they raise recycling, while the rest is donated by friends and family.

On Sunday, she was serving 17 roasted turkeys at an event advertised on social media and flyers around town. She was encouraging evacuees from the wildfire to attend since they are now homeless too.

“I’m sure a lot of them are uncomfortable now,” Adams said at the park where a few dozen people sat at picnic tables to eat. “A lot of them don’t have places to cook or eat.”

Among the displaced in Chico was Sonya Butts, her twin sister, Tonya Boyd, and their families. They had been among those hoping for a Thanksgiving meal parcel from Doty’s center.

The Camp Fire may have taken her home, her job and her town, Butts said, but it left her with the things that matter most to her.

“Being alive, knowing my husband and my kids got out alive, that’s all I ever wanted,” Butts, 28, said by phone from a Red Cross evacuation shelter at Bidwell Junior High School.

Butts, her sister and their families are lucky to be alive after a harrowing escape. They fled in a four-car caravan as the wildfire all but surrounded them, eventually reaching Chico where they watched their hometown burn in the hills behind them.

Still, Butts counts her blessings.

“Everything else can be replaced,” she said. “My family cannot.”

(Reporting by Terray Sylvester; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

U.S. online sales surge, shoppers throng stores on Thanksgiving evening

U.S. online sales surge, shoppers throng stores on Thanksgiving evening

By Richa Naidu and Nandita Bose

(Reuters) – U.S. shoppers had splurged more than $1.52 billion online by Thanksgiving evening, and more bargain hunters turned up at stores this year after two weak holiday seasons as retailers opened their doors early on the eve of Black Friday.

At the start of the holiday season consumer spending rose 16.8 percent year-over-year until 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracked 80 percent of online transactions at the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Surging online sales and a shift away from store shopping have thinned the crowds typically seen at stores on Thanksgiving evening and the day after, Black Friday, for the past two years. But a strong labor market, rising home prices and stock markets at record highs have improved shopper appetite this year.

Crowds at stores in many locations around the country were reported to be strong, according to analysts and retail consultants monitoring shopper traffic across the U.S.

“The turnout is clearly better than the last couple of years,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. “The parking lots are full and the outlet malls are busy.”

The retail consultancy has 20 members studying customer traffic in different parts of the country.

Moody’s retail analyst Charlie O’ Shea, who was in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, reported healthy traffic at local stores including consumer electronics chain Best Buy, clothing store Old Navy and retailer Kohl’s Corp.

“The weather is cooperating and people here are out,” he said.

The National Retail Federation is projecting that sales for November and December will rise 3.6 percent to 4 percent this year, versus a 4 percent increase last year. Non-store sales, which include online sales and those from kiosks, are expected to rise 11 percent-15 percent to about $140 billion.

In New Jersey, around 50 people lined up a Macy’s at the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall before it opened and around 200 people stood outside the Best Buy store, many to pick up their online orders.

“Me and my husband have a bigger place and we need a bigger TV for the living room,” said Jenipher Gomes, who bought a 50-inch Samsung TV at Best Buy for $399.99. Shopper Hammad Farooq said he waited at the store for an hour to shop for laptops and monitors.

In Chicago, shoppers appeared to be slightly less enthusiastic to emerge from their turkey slumber and crowds were thin along the city’s popular shopping destination, State Street.

“There’s a few more people than normal but I wouldn’t call this crowded at all,” Deloitte auditor Eugenia Liew said as she shopped at discount retailer Target. “I expected a lot more people.”

The holiday season spanning November and December is crucial for retailers because it can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales. Retailers try to attract shoppers with deep discounts.

Average discounts ranged between 10 and 16 percent with the best deals online on Thanksgiving evening available for computers, sporting goods, apparel and video games, according to date from Adobe.

The number of customers shopping on their smartphones surged, accounting for 46 percent of the traffic on retail websites, while traffic from desktop and laptop computers declined 11 percent and nearly 6 percent respectively, according to the data.

(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Chicago and Nandita Bose in West Hartford, Connecticut; Additional reporting by Jenna Zucker in New Jersey; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Traveling this Thanksgiving? Here’s the weather to watch out for!

Thanksgiving weekend forecast map

Be ready to snuggle up, watch a little football, get out the board games and enjoy Thanksgiving with the family!  Much of the country will be dealing with a wet and sometimes snowy mess for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend especially in the Northern and Northeast parts of the country.  There will be some wet and wintry travel spots from coast to coast so be sure that you take it slow and listen to local forecasts along the way to Grandma’s house!  

Snow and ice accumulations are expected to be light in most of the country where winter weather is a factor but with the amount of people on the roads this holiday, any wet or snowy conditions are hazardous.  

The National Weather Service reports that today’s current storm located now in the center of the country will be spreading rain and snow across the Upper Midwest and is forecasted to move into the Northeast by the evening and early Thanksgiving morning, according to the National Weather Service.  

Although wintry weather will expand from northern Pennsylvania and New York on Wednesday night  and into parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire on Thursday, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is expected to proceed under cloudy and damp conditions.  

A significant winter storm over the Great Basin will impact much of the state of Wyoming where there will be white out conditions and ground blizzards expected in some counties.

Possible Airports that could be impacted for the long holiday weekend are: JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, and San Francisco, mostly due to low clouds and rain.

Be sure to stay up to date with your local forecasts!  Drive carefully, respect the weather conditions and have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Greek Immigrant Gives Back on Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving people all of the United States gather together to share a meal.  For many it is with their family and friends.  For many others who are alone on Thanksgiving their meal comes from caring people that know how much food served with love means to their life.  

One such caring man has made it a tradition at his Northville, Michigan restaurant, called George’s Senate Coney Island by opening up his popular place of business to those that are alone over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Every Thanksgiving(or Easter!) for the past 10 years if you are homeless or even just alone for Thanksgiving , you can get a free meal at George’s.

Each year George serves 75 to 100 people.

“The reason I do this is because I was alone one time,” Dimopoulos told ABC news. “I remember the good times and bad times.”  

“I see people coming into the restaurant, and I say, ‘Are you by yourself?’ and they say, ‘I am, I’m alone,'” Dimopoulos told Today.com. “They need a little attention and help. That’s what I believe. I don’t care how much it costs. I make good money, so I can help those people.”

Recently a passerby posted a photo of the sign advertising the event to Reddit.  

“If anyone is home alone, come eat with us for free! All day,” the sign reads.

In a recent article, Huffington post said that for George, helping others in this way is quite personal.  The Greek-born Michigan immigrant who came to the country when he was 23 was once homeless in Athens when he was 12 and relied on strangers to help him find ways to eat.

This is a man that understands the meaning of paying forward in a warm, welcoming and delicious way!