Season of Kindness

This Michigan Restaurant Offers Lonely Diners a Free Meal on Thanksgiving

This Michigan Restaurant Offers Lonely Diners a Free Meal on Thanksgiving 0:32

In the tiny Detroit suburb of Northville, George Dimopoulos is known for his unlikely Thanksgiving tradition.

Every year for the last decade, he has invited people who are homeless or alone on Thanksgiving Day to his restaurant, George's Senate Coney Island for a meal — free of charge.

Outside Northville, however, the tradition was largely unknown. That was until a Reddit user uploaded a photo last week of a handmade sign advertising the free dinner that was placed on the restaurant's front window. The picture has since been viewed nearly five million times.

Dimopoulos says that he never expected to garner such attention for what he said was a "normal" gesture.

"It makes my heart feel good to do it, and help a little bit," he said.

Dimopoulos came to the U.S. at the age of 23 from his native Greece, where he grew up on a family farm with seven brothers and sisters.

Finances were so tight that his parents couldn't afford to send him to school. He left home at just 12 and went to Athens, where he says he was homeless for a time and depended on others to get by.

The Thanksgiving dinners, he says, are a way for him to pay it forward for the generosity he received from strangers during that time. Dimopoulos says that the event typically attracts a full house, with more than 80 diners coming to last year's occasion.

The menu varies from typical American fare — sweet potatoes, ham and turkey — to Greek staples like Greek salad and spinach pie.

The long hours in the kitchen preparing the meal, Dimopoulos says, are well worth it once he sees the reaction of the first patrons that walk through the door.

"Oh, it makes me feel great," he said.