Joe Thomas, 43 year old, has been a staff at IHOP in Springfield, Illinois for over 11 years and to many who have known him he has brought nothing but light into their lives.
Now, thanks to a viral photo, Joe’s love and kindness is becoming known to the wider world.
“I just love my life, and I love the way I am.”
That’s what Joe told CBS after they interviewed him following his viral fame.
The photo below was posted to facebook over the weekend and was shared a gazillion times. In the image he was snapped helping a woman with Huntington disease to eat her food as her husband sat the other side of the table and enjoyed his breakfast.
Thomas has come to know the couple, who visit the local IHOP at least once a week, very well. The woman’s husband would alway feed her first, allowing his own food to go cold.
Then one day, after delivering their order, Thomas sat down next to the woman, waved her husband away and started cutting up her eggs and feeding her.
“I didn’t really offer. I just started doing it,” Thomas said. “I told the gentleman to ‘Sit down, eat your food. I got her.’”
The man graciously accepted Thomas’ kind offer, and from that day on, that became their new routine.
“I really treat people like I want to be treated,” Thomas said. “If I get to be that age and something happened to me I would want someone to help me out.”
Customer Keshia Dotson was sitting a few tables away when she watched Thomas take a cloth napkin and lightly dab the woman’s mouth after feeding her. She was touched by the waiter’s sweet gesture.
“She was coughing and then would gag really loud almost like she was choking,” Dotson described to CBS News. “The first time she did it almost the entire restaurant went silent and he cracked a joke and reduced the tension. It wasn’t long after that that we noticed him sitting down with her and helping feed her and once she was done get her all cleaned up.”
Dotson was so impressed by Thomas that she posted a picture of him on Facebook, alerting IHOP to the “touching moment.” The photo was “liked” and shared by thousands of people.
100s of comments including many personal testimonies followed. Thomas seems to be universally loved!
Thomas also told CBS that he had a soft hear and hoped that after the story went viral others would follow in his footsteps if they wanted to. He said
“Remember that movie, ‘Pay It Foward’? That’s what I’m hoping for,”