Regular customers at one IHOP in Springfield, Illinois know that’s where to go if you’re looking for the nicest server around: Joe Thomas.
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Joe has worked at that IHOP for 11 years, and has been bringing smiles to the faces of his customers for just as long. The 43-year-old has a reputation for going above and beyond to make people smile. Regular customers say he treats all of his patrons like they’re family. “I love the people,” said Joe in a recent interview. “I just love my life, and I love the way I am.”
While Joe’s kindness may not surprise those who know him, a photo of him in the middle of a kind act is going viral. The photo was snapped by a woman named Keshia Dotson, and it captures Joe sitting beside a patron with Huntington’s disease, helping her eat breakfast. Keshia posted the photo to IHOP’s Facebook page with the following message:
Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirksen I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your servers. A man and disabled women were dining and your server sat down with them and proceeded to help feed the disabled woman while her companion enjoyed his food. My faith in humanity has been restored a little today.
The post quickly went viral and has garnered hundreds of comments, many from people who felt inspired by Joe’s actions and many from people who also know Joe and can attest to his kindness.
One comment was from a co-worker of Joe’s who said that Joe regularly does this for the couple.
Joe later explained that the couple in the photo are husband and wife. Every week, the couple would come to IHOP for breakfast. The husband would always feed the wife before eating his own breakfast since his wife is unable to eat without assistance. The husband’s food would always be cold by the time he finished helping his wife, and when Joe noticed this he decided to step in.
“I didn’t really offer. I just started doing it,” said Joe. “I told the gentleman to ‘Sit down, eat your food. I got her.'” Now Joe serves the pair at least once a week every week.
When asked why he did this, Joe’s answer was simple: “I really treat people like I want to be treated. If I get to be that age and something happened to me, I would want someone to help out.” He says he didn’t really think, he just did it.
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