IHOP Waiter Feeds Sick Customer
Dale and Ma, an elderly couple in Springfield, Illinois, have had the same weekend tradition for several years. The two go out for breakfast at IHOP, where they are served by their favorite waiter, Joe Thomas. But Joe does more than just serve the couple their meals — he regularly sits down with them, too. The IHOP waiter feeds Ma, who can’t feed herself as a result of Huntington’s disease. And when a fellow diner snapped a photo of the heartwarming scene, Joe’s amazing compassion soon went viral!
Joe has been waiting on Dale and Ma for years. Because Huntington’s disease causes a progressive deterioration of mental and physical abilities, Ma is unable to feed herself. So, when Joe brought the couple their meals, Dale would always feed Ma first. As a result, Dale’s food was cold when he finally went to eat it.
After witnessing this, Joe felt compelled to help. So, one day Joe sat down at the table and told Dale:
“You eat your food - I got this.”
And from that day forward, this became the weekend new routine. When Dale and Ma come in to eat, Joe pulls up a seat so Dale can enjoy a hot meal while the IHOP waiter feeds Ma.
“We’ve become good friends and I’ve grown attached to her. I’m just here to help,” Joe says.
While this routine is nothing new for Joe and his two favorite regulars, the touching scene made a huge impression when diner Keshia Dotson witnessed it for the first time. She snapped a photo and shared it on IHOP’s Corporate Facebook page, praising Joe for his compassion.
“I have worked in the retail and service industry in the past, and know that people usually only contact corporate with negative feedback, so I wanted to share some positive (news),” Keshia said.
A Humble Servant
Since posting the photo of Joe wiping Ma’s mouth, an outpouring of praise has rolled in through the comments.
"This is no big deal for him. He does this every time," wrote a fellow IHOP employee, Amanda Williams. "He's an awesome coworker."
But for Joe, who was raised to show kindness to others, the praise is unwarranted. He’s just doing what he’s supposed to.
“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,” he said. “I took that and ran with it.”
Joe’s mom suffered from diabetes, and he grew up caring for her. She went home to be with the Lord in 2008, and Joe has been caring for his dad who has prostate cancer. Compassion for others just comes naturally to this sweet guy.
“I’m going to do something to make you laugh before you leave, no matter what it is,” he says of his role as a waiter.
Joe’s story just goes to show that no matter what you do, you can serve the Lord while you do it!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-34