Customer pays it forward to giving restaurateurs - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Customer pays it forward to giving restaurateurs

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APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (CBS5) -

A locally-owned restaurant is giving back this holiday season as it always does.

A restaurant in Apache Junction opens its doors to the public every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mickey Denney and her husband, Duane Denney, own Mickey D's Cafe.

"It's just what she is. She's got a heart the size of Mississippi," Barbara Jackson said.

The couple's generosity has grown into a bit of a legend in Apache Junction.

When so many businesses are scrambling to close early on the holidays, the restaurateurs open their doors wide on Thanksgiving and Christmas - welcoming anyone with an appetite and a desire to be among friends on a day when no one should be alone. Even more amazing is that Mickey D's offers full course meals on both days for free.

"What really touches my heart is to watch her when they are coming in. Oh man, I tell you, to see the look on her face when all these people come in," Jackson said.

"We get more out of it than they do," Mickey Denney said. "They get a meal, yes, but we get memories, year after year after year."

Jackson is one of the Mickey's regular customers and best friends.

"Some people are takers, some are givers. Mickey and Duane are givers. If they saw a need, no matter where or what, they would do their best to fulfill it," Jackson said.

"You struggle to keep your heads above water, but as you told me, it's so important for you to give back to the community that supports you all year," Jackson said.

Mickey Denney refused to take any credit, pointing out that her staff donates their time and many of her customers donate food.

The couple continued to pay it forward and donated the $500 they received from Jackson and CBS 5 to the community women's shelter.

The only thanks this couple needs are crowded tables and big smiles in the dining room on Christmas Day.

The Christmas meal at Mickey D's runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It's a set meal but it's all free.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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