MINNEAPOLIS — A local TikTok star is going viral for a big order at a Minneapolis restaurant.
He’s a 25-year-old Minnesotan making it his mission to take a bite out of hunger and help small businesses.
A chance meeting between two people who specialize in helping others has gone viral.
Josh Liljenquist went into Lotus in Minneapolis and ordered egg rolls to feed people who are homeless.
“My new mission, trying to be the best version of myself,” Liljenquist said.
He said it’s all about wrapping your arms around people and showing true love and concern for them.
“I give them food but to me it’s more than food. It’s a conversation, it’s saying you are there for them. You hug them, because some people there, they don’t get love,” Liljenquist said.
He also wants to draw attention to small business owners, many of whom are struggling.
“if I can touch local restaurants, feed people who are hungry and I can take care of myself and build a community who cares, you got three birds with one stone,” Liljenquist said.
Liljenquist’s cameras were rolling when he walked into Lotus.
“You got to the restaurant, order a big amount of food, see if they can do it and then usually give the workers or the people who are making it, whatever it may be $100, $200, pay for the food, unless the company wants to pay for it themselves,” he said.
Yoom Nguyen knew Josh was someone he was meant to help.
“If he’s a real helper like this, let’s do this,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen took Liljenquist to the kitchen, teaching him how to prepare what he planned to hand out to people on the street or living in shelters.
The video has more than 12 million views on TikTok and a few million more on other social media platforms.
“I make the money from views that people watch my stuff and then you put it right back out into the community,” Liljenquist said.
“Our business is up 90% yesterday tips are up 250% for the staff. Amazing, after one day,” Nguyen said.
It’s a win-win: A boost for small business and helping the hungry.
“The way I look at it is I’m a vessel for other people to share what their goals are. And I’ll just support anyone who has a good heart and has the same mission as me,” Liljenquist said.
With his videos, Liljenquist hopes to inspire people to do the same thing he hopes to do: to play your part in making a difference in the world.