Evoni Williams, a Waffle House waitress, thought she was only doing her job when she went above and above for an elderly customer by cutting up the food on his plate.
However, by assisting the man and improving his day, she unwittingly brightened her own future — the 18-year-generosity old’s has now been rewarded with a $16,000 college scholarship.
“That’s just me,” Williams told KPRC, a local NBC affiliate in Houston. “It was a heartfelt message. I’d do it again if I didn’t have to do it right now.”
Williams, dubbed “Nini” by her friends, was working a busy shift at the Waffle House in La Marque, Texas, south of Houston, earlier this month when Adrian Charpentier, 78, complained of pain in his hands.
Williams put some ham on his plate that he had chopped up. Laura Wolf, another client, was moved by the gesture and captured it on camera, pointing out that Charpentier was wearing an oxygen tank and “struggling to breathe.”
“If we could all be like this waitress and take the time to provide a hand…” commented Wolf in the post.
With nearly 50,000 shares, the photo became viral. Representatives from Texas Southern University in Houston were among those who took note.
School officials convened at Waffle House on March 8 to present Williams with a $16,000 check. For each semester, the money can be spent in $4,000 increments.
Williams, who has been working at Waffle House since she left high school to save money for college, fought back tears as her coworkers and bosses applauded.
Williams told a group of reporters, “I didn’t believe it was going to get large.” “But I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you. It’s simply something I’d do on any other day.”
Evoni “Nini” Williams Day was also established by the city of La Marque on March 8.
Williams’ proud moment was witnessed by Charpentier. He told reporters that he had lately spent two days in the hospital and that his hands were hurting.
He expressed his gratitude by saying, “I thanked her very much for that.”
Williams returned to work immediately following the event, but her modest gesture of kindness has continued to resonate.
“I’m thankful to have observed this act of love and caring at the start of my day, when everything in the world appears to be so terrible,” Wolf posted on Facebook. “If only we could all be like this waitress and take the time to assist others.”