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Maryville gas station has ‘pay it forward board’

A decades-old business exemplifies true Volunteer spirit in Maryville.
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 9:37 PM EDT
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A decades-old business exemplifies true Volunteer spirit in Maryville.

Folks from far and wide have felt at home at Lem’s Korner in Maryville. It was first opened in 1961 by Lem Edmonson, and while it’s now in the hands of Pete Schlegel, it hasn’t stopped having a feeling of authenticity and kindness.

The business has started a Pay It Forward board. If someone buys a meal, they can double the cost and put up the receipt on the bulletin board.

“It’s for anybody who is hungry or doesn’t have money,” said Jill Arwood. “Take a ticket, bring it to the cashier, redeem it no questions asked.”

The acts of kindness have gone beyond anyone’s expectations, especially after one man’s visit. Gas station employees said one man gave them $100 and told them to buy lunch for everyone who came in.

“'He said one person out of that group will be touched, one person is all it takes,'” Jill said. “If I could spontaneously combust, I would be the person to do it because I had so much joy going through my veins.”

Simple acts of kindness starting from a single ripple have turned into waves of joy in Maryville.

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