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Stranger pays for Muslim family's meal at Olive Garden

A free meal may not seem like much to some, but to a Muslim man in America right now -- it meant the world.

Georgia resident Eslam Mohamed was finishing dinner with his family at a local Olive Garden on Christmas Day when he was surprised by a stranger's kindness.

A waitress handed the man a bill with large words written across it: "Paid. Merry Christmas. Beautiful family."

"Yes, someone paid for us and wrote those wonderful words on the receipt," Mohamed posted along with a photo of the receipt on Facebook. "I can't express how this act touched our hearts."

What is it like being a Muslim in America?

Mohamed's message has been shared nearly 25,000 times since it was posted on Dec. 25.

"Among all the bad things happening to Muslims and the hate speech that the presidential candidate had made lately, there is still light in the dark, there is still hope within the frustration," he continued.

Last month, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that they had received more reports of crimes against Muslims and Islamic institutions across the U.S. at the end of November than any other period since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, which left 14 people dead, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Trump's controversial plan sparked a nationwide debate on Muslims living in America.

Hundreds of people who shared Mohamed's post hope his story shows Muslims can live peacefully.

"With all the anti Muslim rhetoric it would so nice if we could all show an act of kindness," one Facebook user wrote.

"Let's help enlighten by re-posting this all over the world," another replied.

The Augusta, Georgia resident believes the good deed toward his group of seven adults and five children -- all Arab Muslims -- in the restaurant is a step in the right direction.

"All what i can say to who did that, Merry Christmas to you too and God bless such a beautiful heart you have," he wrote.

Yesterday i went to Olive Garden restaurant to have dinner with nice families. We were a group of 7 adults and 5...

Posted by Eslam S. Mohamed on Friday, December 25, 2015
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