The story of Joey Prusak, a 19-year-old Dairy Queen employee from Hopkins, Minn. who acted with rare courage and selflessness in defense of a blind man, shot to the top of TheBlaze’s most popular stories since being published Thursday afternoon.
On his radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck spoke with Prusak about the incident that gained him international recognition, what he was thinking as it happened (including new details), and what he wants to do with his life.
“I am just so glad to talk to you…you are remarkable on what you did and — it’s sad that you’re remarkable, but true,” Beck began.
“Yeah, I agree with you on that,” Prusak responded. “I didn’t expect any of this to come from something that little, in reality.”
Beck asked Prusak to recount for him exactly what happened.
“Well, I’ve worked here since I was 14 years old, I’m 19 now. You get to know customers pretty well through that amount of time. And a gentleman came in who I recognized from coming in a few times before…He has a walking stick, to [figure] out what’s in front of him and whatnot,” Prusak said. “He ordered what he normally does, and he always pays with a debit card, because cash you could see would be a little difficult. I don’t know if he’s partially blind or fully blind…but I know he definitely has a seeing disability.”
When the man took the debit card from his pocket, Prusak said, he also dropped a $20 bill on the ground.
“The lady behind him quickly picked it up, before anyone could say anything, before I could say, ‘Sir, you dropped some money on the floor,’” Prusak recalled. “She picked it up and she held it, and I figured, ‘Oh, she’s going to give it back.’ When in reality she ended up standing there until the guy walked by, and then she put it in her purse.”
Prusak said all that was running through his head was, “Really? Did that just happen?”
Shortly thereafter, the woman — who Prusak said he didn’t recognize — approached the counter to place her order.
“I told her, ‘ma’am, can you please return that $20 to the gentleman sitting right over at the dining area?’”
Prusak said the dining area is about eight feet from the serving window, and the gentleman who dropped the money “kind of turned and started listening in.”
To his surprise, the woman boldly responded: “Oh it’s mine, I just dropped it…I decided to pick it up, I guess, at the wrong time.’ Something along the lines of that.”
“I actually kind of laughed, I was like, ‘really’?” Prusak told Beck. “I go, ‘Alright ma’am, I’m going to ask you one more time, can you please return it to the gentleman sitting over there, otherwise I’m going to ask you to leave, because I’m not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you.’ Because I straight up saw the guy drop the money, I knew it wasn’t hers.”
After a bit of a “back and forth,” Prusak said, the woman made a “huge scene” and “stormed out” when he asked her to leave. A customer’s account of the event on Reddit, which originally sent the story viral, said the woman was swearing at Prusak, but he “stayed calm and never gave her any attitude.”
But it was what Prusak did next that has really earned him praise.
After he finished serving those waiting, Prusak approached the gentleman and gave him $20 from his own pocket, saying it was on behalf of Dairy Queen.
“I didn’t feel obligated to give him $20,” he told Beck. “I just felt it was the right thing to do, because he got screwed over frankly, and I didn’t feel like that was right.”
Beck asked the young man if anyone else at the establishment came to his defense, even just piping in to say, “Hey, give the guy his money back.”
Prusak said people were making gestures and noises, scoffing when she claimed the money was hers, for instance, but the woman was quite focused on him.
“You know, in time, you could be running all of Dairy Queen or whatever else it is you want to do,” Beck told Prusak. “Right now one of the problems in our country, Wall Street and everything else, everything else, is a lack of honesty. What do you want to do? What’s your plan for life?”
Prusak said he wants to own his own business.
“I’ve always been interested in the business aspect of the Dairy Queen that I work at, and the owner [has] really worked with me on teaching me the things of business,” Prusak said. “I’d like to eventually own my own Dairy Queen, or just a business of some kind.”
Beck’s co-host Stu Burguiere suggested they open a Dairy Queen right there in their Dallas studios, but it might pose a difficulty because “you wouldn’t be able to fit any of us on the camera shot.”
Laughing, Beck repeated: “I’m really impressed with you, Joey, and I’d like to stay in touch with you and find out what your dreams are, and see if there’s any way we can help you with that, because I think you are a remarkable young man.”
He also advised the young man not to “rack up a lot of debt” with college, and focus on educating himself by reading and studying everything he can get his hands on, and surrounding himself with smart people.
After the show, Beck reflected: “I’d like to do a show with his parents, too…because obviously his parents have done something really, tremendously right.”
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[Front page image courtesy of KARE11-TV]
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