"I've never seen anything like it before," said Denny's CEO Nelson Marchioli. "It changed our brand - it changed our company."
CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports 35,000 people sent e-mails filled with gratitude, nearly crashing Denny's Web site. People were blown away by such generosity at a time like this.
"I lost my job," one e-mail read. "You've restored a razor-thin slice of my belief that this country can be saved. Kudos, Denny's."
"It is two eggs, two pancakes, two pieces of bacon and two pieces of sausage," Marchioli said. "Who would have thought it would have moved American this way?"
Americans, it seems, are hungry for a little humanity, and companies large and small are finding that feeding that need can be good business.
The Jon Charles hair salon in Minneapolis has brought in 127 new customers in the past two weeks, taking advantage of the "Jon Charles Stimulus Package." New customers get a discount equal to their percentage of 401(k) or market losses. No proof needed.
"The next era in America is being honest and karma," said owner Jon Charles. "Tell us you lost 38.4 percent and we'll give you 38.4 percent off."
Karma at a South Florida yoga studio means giving away two classes a week to the unemployed. Maya Parada just lost her marketing job.
"It's amazing," Parada said. "I can't believe that people are actually opening their hearts and extending their hands to people in need at this time - we all need that extra hand you know."
Denny's, which gambled $5 million on its Grand Slam Giveaway, has already made it all back. They'll do it again next month - this time with a new twist. Those who ate free before are encouraged to pay the good deed forward: bring a friend in need and Denny's will pick up their tab.
"America needs a hug," Marchioli said. "America needs this far more than I would have ever anticipated. I encourage all CEOs to do this. It's an opportunity for us to give back."
At a time when corporate greed still makes headlines, a little appreciate can go a long way.
"If we're going go out for a bite to eat anyway, why not give the business to somebody who really appreciated us?" asked teacher Judith Offrett.
Apparently, doing the right thing pays - in more ways than one.