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Waffle House Waitress Helps Customer, Goes Viral, Gets Scholarship

A Waffle House waitress went the extra mile for a customer last weekend and has now been given a college scholarship.
David Goldman

A seemingly small gesture at a restaurant outside Houston that wasn't part of the job description for a Waffle House waitress has now had a big effect on her life.

It happened last weekend in La Marque, Texas, when 18-year-old Evoni Williams was serving an elderly man breakfast.

He needed help.

"I had no coordination, no feeling, strength in my hands," Adrian Charpentier told ABC 13 News.

So Williams leaned over the counter with a fork and a knife and cut up his ham for him.

It might have ended there, but a patron sitting behind Charpentier was struck enough to take a picture and post it to Facebook.

"I don't know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don't work too good," Laura Wolf wrote, describing how Williams stepped in. "If we could all be like this waitress & take time to offer a helping hand."

"I didn't know the photo was taken until a couple hours later," Williams told The Houston Chronicle. "When I saw it, it's just something I would do for anybody."

Wolf told KHOU, "It was so busy in here, and she actually took the time to stop and hear what he had to say instead of walking past him. That just meant something to me."

It apparently meant something to others too. As of Sunday, more than 130,000 people had reacted to the Facebook post and nearly 7,000 have shared it.

But the ripple has extended beyond the Internet.

Williams, a recent Texas City High School graduate was honored at a ceremony Thursday with a $16,000 scholarship to Texas Southern University.

Williams has reportedly been working full-time at the Waffle House to earn money toward school.

KHOU reports Texas Southern University has assigned a counselor to help her begin her degree and she is planning to study business management.

Media at the local, national and international level have all picked up on the story.

It is a moment among several in recent years, captured in a picture, put online, and capturing the attention of the Internet: like a New York City police officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots, or workers at a drive-through pausing to pray with a grieving customer, or a restaurant goer whose wife died of cancer anonymously paying for the meal of another cancer patient.

As Laura Wolf, who posted the Waffle House picture put it, "I'm thankful to have seen this act of kindness and caring at the start of my day while everything in this world seems so negative."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amy Held is an editor on the newscast unit. She regularly reports breaking news on air and online.
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