An extraordinary friendship between a Waffle House server and his loyal customer blossomed, leading to an incredible outpouring of support for a struggling family.
Eight-year-old Kayzen Hunter, accompanied by his parents and occasionally his grandpa, frequented their local Waffle House in Arkansas, where they formed a special bond with their favorite server, Devonte Gardner. This connection grew stronger over time, with Gardner warmly exchanging high fives with Kayzen and even patiently listening to the young boy's jokes.
As fate would have it, Kayzen and his family noticed something troubling about Gardner's routine. He was often dropped off at work because he didn't possess a car of his own. Deeply concerned, the Hunters delved deeper into the situation and learned that Gardner, along with his wife and two young daughters, were residing in a hotel due to significant issues in their previous home.
Gardner vividly described the dire conditions they endured, including rat and roach infestations, black mold, and the absence of heat during chilly nights. It was an untenable situation, especially when Gardner's daughters fell ill due to the inhospitable environment.
For the past eight months, Gardner's family had been crammed into a single hotel room, facing the daily challenges and financial strain that comes with such circumstances. While hotels may offer comfort during short vacations, the extended stay was taking its toll on their mental well-being and finances. Nevertheless, with limited alternatives available, it seemed like the only viable choice for the family's immediate safety.
Empathy welled up inside young Kayzen's heart upon discovering the plight of his beloved Waffle House server. He felt an unyielding urge to help. And so, the ingenious idea to launch a GoFundMe campaign to assist Gardner in acquiring a car was born. Although it took some persuasion to convince his mother, as children cannot open accounts on their own, Kayzen's determination prevailed, and his mother gave her approval.
Initially, the fundraising goal was modestly set at $500, aiming to provide Gardner with reliable transportation. However, the campaign gained remarkable momentum and rapidly surpassed its target, steadily climbing higher and higher. People across the nation were deeply moved by the heartfelt message crafted by Kayzen and his mother on the GoFundMe page.
In his appeal, Kayzen eloquently expressed, "Devonte is one of the most joyous and positive people you've ever met!! He always greets us with the biggest smile. I hope your heart is as BIG as mine, and you will help me spread kindness in the world. Any amount helps!"
Gardner, overwhelmed by the extraordinary support he received, now has ambitious plans for the funds raised by young Kayzen. His first step towards a brighter future is moving his family into a brand-new apartment. Gardner proudly shared with Today.com that he recently signed the lease for a spacious two-bedroom unit.
As the donations continue to pour in, the current total stands at an astounding $108,000. Yet, Gardner remains steadfast in his responsible intentions for the money, ensuring it will be utilized wisely.
"I'm gonna save the rest because I want to put my daughters in a good school, I want them to be in a good environment," Gardner explained passionately. "Everything I'm getting is going mostly towards my daughters to make sure they have a great, great life. Make sure we won't have to struggle anymore."
Remarkably, amidst the life-changing developments, Gardner continues to diligently work at Waffle House, always greeting Kayzen and his family with his trademark high five and an unwavering smile. The bond forged between the young boy and his favorite server serves as a testament to the remarkable impact one act of kindness can have on an individual, a family, and an entire community.
Watch how the young boy raise the money below:
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