A story about a Waffle House server who engaged in “routine” kindness reminds us how an act of stopping for another human represents compassion—and in this case, it can have a financial payoff.

As reported by CNN , eighteen-year-old Evoni Williams worked at a Waffle House in La Marque, Texas just outside Houston to earn college money. During a hectic morning shift, an elderly customer, Adrien Charpentier, asked Evoni if she would cut the ham on his plate; due to a muscular condition, Adrien lacked strength to do that task for himself. Even though there were other orders to fill, Evoni stopped to do as Adrien requested. 

Another customer spotted Evoni cutting Adrien’s meal and snapped this  picture, which she put on Facebook with the caption, “I don’t know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don’t work too good…Without hesitation, she took his plate and began cutting up his ham. This may seem small but to him, I'm sure it was huge. 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. If we could all be like this waitress & take time to offer a helping hand.... 🤝 #wafflehouse #kindness #givingback #offerlove #bekind #goodnews.”

The Facebook post garnered 86,000 Likes and 73,000 Shares. One person who saw the posting was the mayor of La Marque, Bobby Hocking, who said, “Somebody tagged me and…it just touched my heart.” This spurred Hocking to declare March 8 Evoni ‘Nini’ Williams Day.

Another person also saw the post—Austin A. Lane, the president of Texas Southern University, which is located close to La Marque. Through social media and other means, Lane and university alumni coordinated a scholarship fundraising campaign for Evoni that netted $16,000. If you go to the story, you will see a picture of a TSU administrator giving Evoni an oversized check for $16,000 in the middle of the Waffle House restaurant.

“We wanted to reward Evoni’s act of kindness and let her know that good deeds do not go unnoticed,” said TSU’s Melinda Spaulding. “She has the character of the type of students we want at Texas Southern University.”

“It is awesome…I feel excited and happy,” Evoni reported.

This story offers two lessons—first, that we are hungry for positive stories about humans caring for other humans, and second, that through social media, a single act of compassion can ripple to thousands of others as an example for how all of us should treat each other.

Way to go, Evoni! That’s quite a tip from helping a customer!