Friday, March 31, 2017

When he saw the customer's breakfast go cold, he offered to help

For Joe Thomas, it was a typical day as wait staff at IHOP in Springfield Illinois. A couple of regulars came in, Dale and 'Ma', and Thomas did what he's been doing for the last five years - he pulled up a chair to help feed Ma.

She has Huntington's Disease, a progressive neurological impairment, and she needs help to use utensils. Since the pair has come to IHOP weekly for years, Thomas had noticed Dale's breakfast often went cold while he fed his wife. One day about five years ago, he offered to help feed her so Dale could enjoy his meal too. The couple accepted his offer, and the routine was established.

Last weekend, a customer snapped a photo of this arrangement and posted it on Facebook. The photo and the accompanying story went viral, touching millions of people with its simple kindness.

Thomas has received an offer to go for training in nursing. He hasn't made any decisions, but thinks he might like to return to a job he once had as a rehab tech in a residence for adults with disabilities. He was also quick to praise his supervisor and his fellow wait staff, since they pick up the slack at his other tables while he helps Ma with her meal.

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