At a time when bigotry and intolerance are at an all-time high, it is often quite hard to believe that somewhere a person could be helping someone without having an ulterior motive. However, this incredible story of a selfless server in Springfield, Illinois, is a much-needed reminder that humanity is not at all dead.
Facebook user Keshia Dotson recently posted a photo featuring IHOP server Joe Thomas wiping a disabled woman’s mouth after helping her eat her breakfast. It was a touching scene, which soon drew the internet’s attention for all the right reasons.
As the story goes, the 43-year-old has been working at the same restaurant for the past seven years. For the last few years, he had been regularly serving breakfast to an elderly couple he calls Dale and Ma, who order the same thing every morning.
Dale orders two eggs, sausages and pancakes with butter and a single egg on top, while his wife orders a bowl of fruit, applesauce and two eggs over medium. Since Ma suffers from Huntington's disease — a genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain — she has trouble with utensils. Her husband used to help her eat, but that meant his own breakfast would go cold.
Therefore, one day Thomas decided to offer his services.
"One day I just said to him you eat your food, I got this," he said, adding that he has watched the long-time patron’s health deteriorate for almost seven years and has become good friends with Ma. "I remember when she was able to walk and feed herself more than she can now. We've become good friends and I've grown attached to her. I'm just here to help.”
He said he loves helping people — something his mother taught him.
"My mom told me to treat all people the same because you don't know what will happen to you later on in your life," continued Thomas, who previously used to work at a rehabilitation center. "I took that and ran with it."
“This is no big deal for him. He does this every time. He's an awesome coworker,” Thomas’ colleague Amanda Williams commented on the now-viral post. “This is the service they always receive no matter who is their server. We love to go above and beyond for our customers.”
Thomas also said he likes all his customers and remembers their orders.
“This man is a great server. He's waited on my family a few times when we've been to IHOP. This warms my heart to see this,” commented Facebook user Melissa Roberts. “What a kind soul. Keep doin’ you young man.”
“This guy waited on me the other morning and I left with a smile on my face thinking that this man was so nice and just the few minutes that I interacted with him while getting my to go order made my morning that much better,” remarked Amanda Jones. “What a genuine human being. Just what the world needs more of!”
“He was our waiter on St Patrick's day. It was super busy, and we had our toddler with us. He took the time to sit down and talk with our son while still managing to serve his other tables,” wrote another social media user, Courtney Sullivan. “A small act of kindness goes a long way.”
Fortunately, Thomas’ act of kindness did not go unnoticed.
Soon after the picture was uploaded and began making rounds on the internet, the server was offered an opportunity to work as a nurse.
It is yet unclear if Thomas has responded to the job offer.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni