Waffle House Waitress: Small Act of Kindness Leads to an Unbelievable Surprise
Evoni Williams, a waitress at the local Waffle House in La Marque, TX, was in the middle of another busy day at work when a customer waved her down. She stepped away from her duties and took time to help the elderly patron.
She didn’t know her small act of kindness was secretly recorded by another diner in the restaurant, who later posted it online. The resulting chain of events turned the waitress into a viral sensation and led to an unbelievable surprise.
Not Another Regular Morning
Laura Wolf regularly visited the La Marque Waffle House for a tasty breakfast and coffee. During her visits, she got to know the serving staff as well. Most days were busy but calm, with nothing extraordinary happening at the restaurant.
Buzzing with Business
Before Laura even began taking pictures, she noticed the Waffle House was strangely packed. People in the small town of around 16,000 were used to coming to the restaurant for meals. It was a popular spot for La Marque citizens, but it was busier than normal.
A Hardworking Server
One of the busiest servers was Evoni Williams, known to her friends and coworkers as "Nini." Laura recognized her from her previous visits to the restaurant. Evoni had worked at Waffle House for a few years and was known for the dedication and hard work she brought to the job.
On this particular morning, Evoni arrived at Waffle House ready to work. When she noticed how busy the restaurant was, she was hopeful that it would be a great day for tips. She moved quickly from table to table in her section to take orders.
Out of the corner of her eye, Evoni noticed a regular customer come through the door. He was an elderly man by the name of Adrien, but most people called the 78-year-old by his nickname, "Mr. Karaoke." The man ate at the Waffle House at least once a week.
Getting Evoni’s Attention
Even when she noticed Mr. Karaoke walk in, Evoni kept working. She had a lot of tables waiting on food, and others were still waiting to be seated. As she attempted to keep everything flowing, Mr. Karaoke tried to wave her down.
Trying to Listen In
Laura was sitting in a booth directly across from Mr. Karaoke and Evoni. Even though she was close, she couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but she could tell the conversation was important.
Focusing on Mr. Karaoke
As Laura watched closely, Evoni was trying to make out what Mr. Karaoke was telling her. Because of the hustle and bustle of the morning rush, it was hard to hear in the loud restaurant. Pots were clanging in the kitchen, and customers were chatting at their tables. Evoni could barely hear Mr. Karaoke's soft voice.
A Quick Exchange
At first, Evoni assumed that Mr. Karaoke was dissatisfied with his meal in some way. If he wanted to send it back to the kitchen, she would happily accommodate him. As he explained his situation to Evoni, she simply nodded with a smile. After that, he passed his breakfast plate to the waitress.
A Quiet Observer
In the quick exchange, Evoni focused completely on Mr. Karaoke. Even with all the patrons and workers in the restaurant, she acted as if none of them existed and carved out some time to help the man in front of her.
Smile, You're on Candid Camera
While Laura watched and recorded the exchange from her seat, another video was being recorded of Evoni and Mr. Karaoke. Waffle House's grainy security camera footage later showed Evoni walking up to the elderly customer, leaning in to hear his soft voice, and then taking the man's plate. It also caught her leaning from behind the bar counter as if nothing had happened.
Sharing on Social Media
After helping Mr. Karaoke, Evoni returned to her job as if nothing had happened. However, Laura was speechless after capturing the heartwarming moment. She had gotten everything on video, as well as a few photos, and she just had to share the sweet event with someone.
A Vulnerable Moment
The moment started with a small request from Mr. Karaoke, who was battling serious health problems and recovering from pneumonia. Because of these challenges, he was unable to do some of his typical daily activities.
A Cut Above
Once Mr. Karaoke had gotten Evoni's attention and explained his situation, she was more than happy to help. "He was like, ‘My hands are not functioning too well,'" Evoni explained to ABC News. "He needed me to cut his food for him, so I did."
Sharing the Story
In Laura's Facebook post, she shared photos of what she had witnessed. "I don’t know her name, but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don’t work too good," Laura shared in the post.
Spreading Like Wildfire
Soon after Laura shared the photo of Evoni and Mr. Karaoke on Facebook, her phone began to buzz with notifications. Throughout the rest of her breakfast, she received ping after ping. Some people liked and commented on the post, praising Evoni for her good deed. Others shared the positive interaction on their own pages for their family and friends to see.
Just a few days after Laura shared the kindhearted act on Facebook, her post went viral with more than 90,000 likes and 47,000 shares. Not only had people in La Marque seen her post, but people all over the nation had liked and shared it.
Getting to the Mayor
La Marque is small, and it didn’t take long for Evoni's story to spread all over town and reach the office of the mayor! After Mayor Bobby Hocking heard the news about this viral story happening in his own town, he just knew he had to meet the young woman behind all the fuss.
A Big Moment
Evoni knew the mayor was showing up on a specific day, but she was a little taken aback by all the fuss behind her small act of kindness. She was surrounded by her mother and co-workers as she met and talked with the mayor of her town.
A Day of Her Own
As camera crews flocked inside the Waffle House, Evoni knew she was about to get much more attention. Mayor Hocking stood at the front of the restaurant behind the bar, right where Evoni had stood to cut up Mr. Karaoke's ham. The mayor had a special presentation just for the waitress.
Before the mayor's visit, Evoni's story had circulated all over the internet. Not only were people seeing her kind act for themselves, but they were also beginning to learn more about the waitress and why she was working in Waffle House in the first place.
A Call from TSU
The GoFundMe account for Evoni had started to pick up traction. Each day, more people from La Marque joined people from across the country to donate and help the kind Waffle House waitress go to school.
Another Special Guest
Mayor Hocking, Laura, Mr. Karaoke and others were there to celebrate Evoni on her special day. She was excited after finding out she had her very own day in her town, but another special guest in the crowd was standing by with yet another surprise for the waitress.
Paying It Forward
After the mayor made his special declaration, the president of Texas Southern University joined Evoni behind the Waffle House bar to make an announcement of his own. In front of her family, friends, co-workers and the mayor, he awarded the waitress with something major: a scholarship for $16,000 to help with the cost of attending TSU.
The Ones Who Changed Evoni's Life
As Evoni received her proclamation and scholarship check, both Laura and Mr. Karaoke couldn't help but become emotional. Laura never could have imagined her post on social media would change the course of someone else's life so drastically.
The Right Thing to Do
Evoni still hasn't gotten used to all the attention and praise that came with her kind act toward Mr. Karaoke. She really can't believe she received an entire day in her honor, much less the scholarship.
A Sense of Community
The waitress has continued working at Waffle House five days a week to save additional money for her tenure at Texas Southern University. In spite of her local celebrity status, she still serves up meals to hungry customers with a friendly demeanor and great customer service. Clearly, she operates using the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Still Raising Money
Evoni was very grateful to receive the scholarship for $16,000 to attend Texas Southern University. The scholarship was a great start, but the waitress still needs more funds to be able to stay in school without worrying about massive amounts of debt.
For now, the administration at Texas Southern University has assigned a counselor to help Evoni enroll at the university and start her degree plan. The teen plans to major in business management, and the scholarship check and the money she's raised so far will help with her future goals in business.
Sharing a Lesson of Kindness
With Evoni's time spent serving others, it's no wonder that kindness and compassion are second nature to her. She has seen that kindness pays off in the long run, and she is reaping great benefits for something that seemed small at the time. "I’m happy for her," Laura said. "She’s a very, very sweet girl."