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North Carolina Diner Offers Customers 15 Percent Discount For 'Praying In Public'

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A North Carolina diner is offering a very different sort of discount to its customers, the prayerful ones.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is offering a 15 percent "praying in public" discount. Owner Mary Haglund confirmed the discount to The Blaze on Friday saying that she has actually been offering the rebate for four years now. The discount, which she said is not aligned with any singular religious affiliation, hasn't been advertised and is offered per the discretion of the waitstaff.

“[W]hen I see someone in a restaurant honoring their gratefulness at my table … it touches my heart," she told The Blaze. Adding: "It’s just a moment or faithfulness about the plate of food. It’s not even a policy — it’s [something] we only do when we’re moved to do it.”

The praying in public discount gained attention this week after Christian radio station Z88.3 posted a photo of a customer's receipt to its Facebook page.

That customer, Jordan Smith, told HLN she was surprised by the price cut.

"The three of us at the table talked about how wonderful that is and what a cool thing it is that they do as business owners," she said.

Responses to the discount have been mixed thus far, NPR notes. Some have questioned if praying in public is actually frowned upon in the New Testament, while others wondered if the discount goes against the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition of religious discrimination in a public accommodation, the outlet notes.

A flood of questions have come in to Mary's Gourmet Diner's Facebook page since the discount made the news. The restaurant posted a statement to its Facebook page Friday, saying:

There's a lot of craziness going on in regard to the 15% discount. I will not respond to all the posts. I will say that it is not a "policy", it's a gift we give at random to customers who take a moment before their meal. This could be prayer or just a moment to breathe & push the busyness of the world away. Who you talk to or meditate on etc. is your business. I have lived in a 3rd world country, there are people starving. We live in a country with an abundance of beautiful food. I NEVER take that for granted. It warms my heart to see people with an attitude of gratitude. Prayer, meditation or just breathing while being grateful opens the heart chakra. It's good for everyone!!!!

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