Adam Mahdi began chatting to the elderly homeless man after he grabbed a chair from the restaurant in central Stockholm and put it in the middle of the street in order to sit in the sunshine.
Rather than getting angry at the guest, who had not bought anything from the Green Smile cafe, he asked the man in English if he would like a meal.
“I went out myself and I said 'hello how sir you doing?' First he became angry and said that I had to talk Swedish,” Mahdi told The Local, explaining that he did not speak much Swedish because most customers were happy to talk to him in English.
However after Mahdi offered the Swede some food for free, the pair sat and chatted about life while the homeless man ate.
“I told him I don't want you to pay, I just want you to be happy (…) A few people left the restaurant because I let him in, but I wanted him to feel important,” said the restauranteur.
“It's not the first time I have done stuff like this. It is just my job. They come to the door, I respect them and I give them food,” he said.
But he added that he had previously been sacked from service jobs in the US and Sweden for handing out food for free.
His gesture took place on Monday, with a photo of the owner helping the guest later going viral after it was shared by another of the cafe's customers.
“Had been able to recommend it for the food, but do it instead now for the good-hearted Palestinian, who came to Sweden via New York,” posted Behrang Behdjou.
The guest added that the cafe was a “really good salad bar with awesome falafel”.
At least 2000 people are officially registered as homeless in Stockholm, mostly men aged between 45 and 65. The figure includes those living in government-assisted apartments but excludes migrants from elsewhere in the EU or further afield.
Mahdi said that the homeless man he helped had said he was originally from Östermalm, which is one of the richest districts in the capital.