Serving a meal and a prayer: How one Lawler’s BBQ Employee impacted a Madison family

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  Jackson Dollar could only take small bites while recovering from a procedure on his esophagus. On Saturday he was craving a loaded baked potato, so his mom, Kristy went to Lawler's to get one. She asked the lady at the counter if they would mind chopping up the meat a little to make it easier on him to chew. "She relayed the message to the gentleman preparing the food," said Kristy.

Co-Manger A.J. Gutierriez said it would be no problem, and then asked for more details about her son and his surgery. "I began to explain and he said you know, I'm just going to pray for him," said Kristy.

And right there in that moment, Dollar says he began praying out loud for healing and no pain. "I was just amazed that he would go to the Lord in prayer in that very moment," said Kristy. "It made me question my own prayer life. I thought, 'I'm not sure if I'd be able to do that.' It was very touching."

Dollar says she thanked him, took the food and went home to feed her family. "We sat down to eat supper and Jackson opened his plate and it said, 'Praying 4 your quick recovery!!'"

Gutierriez had added the message so Jackson would know someone was praying for him.

Dollar posted the picture to Facebook and even reached out to the owners of Lawlers, telling them about the simple act of kindness that made all the difference for her family. "I just thought it was an awesome moment and I really just wanted to let everyone know and Lawler`s know as well that their employee had done that," said Kristy.

Kristy's Post on Lawler's Employee

She says his action is an example to live by. "I would hope that people would take a moment whenever they see someone in need and just say a prayer for them," said Kristy.

We wanted to highlight that moment, so we reached out to Lawler's on Monday, asking about the employee. They knew the story had garnered some attention on Facebook and said they were proud to have someone like him in their store.

A.J. Gutierriez has been working for Lawler's for 3 years, the last year as the co-manager of the Balch Road location. He enjoys his job and the ability to be off on Sundays to attend Victorious Faith Worship Center. "My faith is the foundation for how I function in the world," said Gutierriez.

He says that's why he prayed for Kristy's son in the restaurant. "When people came to Jesus for help, when they needed to be able to see or ears to be opened. Jesus didn't ask for permission, and Jesus didn't go into anything huge or elaborate," said Gutierriez.

This isn't the first time A.J. has bowed his head in prayer for a customer. "No it's not, no it's not."

Being near the Madison Hospital, "Some people come in and I'm like, 'Hey how ya doing?' and they're like, 'I'm not doing that good.'"

Many are dealing with surgeries or other stresses. "With that mind of Christ, if it comes to me I can deal with it right then. I don't have to go hide somewhere and pray about it later," said Gutierriez. "I pray with you, for you, in front of you and you know it's been done. And then I go back to slinging BBQ."

It's the little things like that, that he hopes make a difference in the lives of his customers. "Sometimes just a kind word, encouraging words, a prayer, those things help. Those things bless people. Those things have huge impacts on people's lives."

And he definitely left an impact on Dollar's family.

A.J. says he doesn't deserve any praise, he was just doing what he felt was right.


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