This weekend’s viral feel-good story came from a surprising source: A Waffle House in La Marque, Texas. There, teenage server Evoni Williams was asked by an elderly male customer to cut up his ham. Despite the hectic morning rush, she obliged. In a rare case of positive use of social media, another patron snapped the photo, which went viral.
The teen and the senior, Adrien Charpentier, then struck up a brief conversation. Charpentier had recently been in the hospital, and was losing muscle tone in his hands, making it hard for him to cut. CNN reported, “‘I can hold a fork fine and dandy—but to cut it looks like I’m going to stab somebody,’ he said with a laugh.”
As word of Williams’ small but important good deed spread, and the fact that she was working at the Waffle House to earn money for college emerged, the story improbably got even nicer. First, La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking declared March 8 as Evoni Williams day. Then, CNN states, “Williams’ story caught the attention of Texas Southern University President Austin A. Lane, who also saw it on social media. La Marque is near the university’s hometown, Houston. Many of the college’s alumni saw Williams’ story and wanted to help. Through the power of social media and good will, Texas Southern University awarded Williams a $16,000 scholarship.” University administrator Melinda Spaulding stated, “She has the character of the type of students we want at Texas Southern University.”
Honestly, most news is so terrible right now, it’s not surprising at all that this story went as viral as it did. And it’s also an important reminder of the importance of treating other people with kindness, no matter what. Congratulations Evoni!