FULTON — Denzel Weaver spends his afternoons praising the Lord and sharing a smile with Fulton commuters.
Weaver's smile — and his dance moves — are a familiar sight for anyone who drives past Little Caesars where he holds a sign Monday through Friday trying to entice passers-by to stop for pizza.
A 2011 Fulton graduate, Weaver said he enjoys that time spent listening to his music — and singing and dancing along — in front of the restaurant with his cardboard sign.
"Honestly, I'm not always physically aware — I'm usually praising the Lord and enjoying life, because life is short and you never know when it's going to end," he said. "I let the Lord use me to reach people. I can't tell you how many times people have stopped and said, 'You made my day,' or 'You put a smile on me,' or 'I drive this way just to see you.'"
General manager Tyler Gilleland said customers seemed unsure about Weaver and his dancing and singing at first, but it wasn't long before he was driving people into the store.
"I think if we took him away they would be lost. I think people look forward to seeing him every day," Gilleland said, noting that Weaver sometimes will come inside when the store is busy to help with dishes and production. "I look forward to seeing him start his shift every day. He puts a smile on my face, he's got a great attitude. I've enjoyed him ever since I hired him three years ago."
Weaver said such compliments "make me feel like God is using me to the fullest."
"Everyone has their own, unique talents, and I feel like I'm using mine to the fullest," he said. "I like to sing and dance, and I also like to write songs — I dream to make it big in the music business."
Acknowledging that there are many others with the same dream who never make it, Weaver said he accepts the possibility he may not either.
"That's okay, because I was raised with if one door closes another one opens," Weaver said. "I'll be patient and wait for God to send me in that direction or keep me where I am."
In the meantime, he said he is happy working at Little Caesars.
"My favorite thing is touching people, and also I really love the people that are there — they are respectful and accept me for who I am," Weaver said. "There are days where we don't get a lot of people to come in, but (Fulton Little Caesars owner) John Price is still appreciative of me being out there working my tail off."
Often seen dance walking around town, singing along to his music just as he does at work, Weaver said he listens to a variety of styles, making sure his playlist changes often to keep from getting bored.
"When I listen to music, it's a mix. When I grew up it wasn't listening to just one genre," he said. "My mom is a big country fan and my dad listened to a bunch of rock and roll. I listen to pop, R&B, gospel; every day it's something different."
Although music is his passion, Weaver said he also has other aspirations in his life — including taking on a bigger role with church.
A deacon in training at Harper's Chapel Everybody's Church in Montgomery City under the tutelage of Pastor Karma Lee, Weaver said he is a servant of God who is not ashamed of his faith and sharing it with others.
"I know (deacon) is just a title, but it's something I'm longing for because I really want a position in a church," Weaver said. "For so long I wanted to be a choir director or a treasurer or a deacon, but I got turned down because I'm young. At my church that doesn't matter. I'm so grateful and blessed I'm at a place where I'm happy, I'm at peace, I'm free."