“I Think that’s the Most Important Part of the Story, is that He Helped Me, So I Just Want to Help Everyone Else”

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, philanthropist Benjamin Olewine III helped Melissa Manier quite a lot after she waited on him at the Peachtree Restaurant and Lounge in Susquehanna Township, where she was working to pay her way through college. In an interview with WHTM’s Dave Marcheskie, they described what happened:

“Manier: ‘I was working at the front desk.’

“Olewine: ‘I asked her about how she was paying for books…’

“Manier: ‘I said, I have student loans but, [I am] gonna have to pay them back.’

“Olewine: ‘I said, “Oh, well, just give me the bill and I’ll take care of them for you.”’

“Manier: ‘At first, I didn’t exactly understand what he meant.’

“Olewine: ‘She let me know how [paying for college] was a struggle.’

“Manier: ‘I was thinking, I do have a bill sitting on my desk right now. So, I was like … well, I’ll bring it in for you if that’s what he’s asking for.’”

She brought him the bill, and he paid it for her. Mr. Olewine did not stop there; he paid off all of her upstanding debt and continued to pay her tuition and book bills. Ms. Manier said, “While I was in school, after he’d started paying for me, my dad passed away. I just keep thinking of him right now. He’d be so shocked and just so happy for me.” Ms. Mainer earned her nursing degree through Harrisburg Area Community College and got a job as a nurse at PinnacleHealth’s General Osteopathic Hospital in — pay attention — the Benjamin Olewine III wing, which is named after him because he has donated so much money to the spine, bone, and joint institutes. She said, “I’m so happy I got the job here, because it’s a perfect fit.” In 2014, Ms. Mainer was 25 years old, and thanks to Mr. Olewine, free of debt. She is currently taking online courses, and he is still helping her. She said, “Anytime I get a bill that he helps me with, I still feel strange asking him because he really doesn’t know me. It’s just crazy.” She added that she wants to pay it forward: “I think that’s the most important part of the story, is that he helped me, so I just want to help everyone else.”

For Further Information: Dave Marcheskie, “Waitress receives tuition-sized tip from philanthropist.” WHTM (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania). 18 April 2014


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