An 8-year-old boy in Little Rock, Arkansas raised over $100,000 to help his regular waiter at his favorite breakfast spot – Waffle House.
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Nearly every weekend, a young boy named Kayzen Hunter goes to Waffle House for breakfast with his family. They always sit in the same section and Kayzen has a regular order.
Kayzen’s meals are typically served by Devonte Gardner, a father of two little girls who works as a waiter in the restaurant and is struggling to make ends meet.
Over the course of a year, as the Hunters faithfully stuck with their Waffle House weekend breakfast tradition, Kayzen and Devonte became great friends.
“It was about a year ago when they met,” Kayzen’s mom Vittoria Hunter told TODAY. “My dad started going and Kayzen would go with him. When he came home, he talked about Devonte and how much he liked him.”
As they interacted with Gardner more, the rest of the family quickly felt the same way Kayzen did.
“As we started to go more and more and we met Devonte, we realized he’s just really a light in the world,” Hunter added.
Gardner felt it too. He called Kayzen a “wonderful kid” and noted that they are always laughing.
“He tells me jokes every time he comes in, like, ‘Hey, Devonte, I got a joke for you,’ and the next thing you know, we’re laughing,” Gardner told TODAY.
As the Hunters learned more about their new friend, their hearts broke for him. Gardner shared with the family that he was living in a motel with his wife and two daughters aged 3 and 2 years old. Before moving into the motel, Gardner said the family lived in an apartment infested with rats, roaches and black mold.
Living there made his daughters get sick and he did not have a car to drive to work, so Gardner relocated his family to the motel near the restaurant.
Little Kayzen knew he had to help his friend, so he came up with the idea to start a GoFundMe with the intention of helping Gardner get a car to drive to work. However, after hearing Gardner’s story, people felt compelled to give more.
“Devonte is one of the most joyous and positive people you’ve ever met!! He always greets us with the biggest smile,” Kayzen wrote in the GoFundMe description. “I hope your heart is as BIG as mine and you will help me spread kindness in the world. Any amount helps!!”
Gardner told TODAY that as a result of Kayzen’s efforts, he and his family will be moving into a new apartment “very soon.”
He added, “I’m gonna save the rest because I want to put my daughters in a good school, I want them to be in a good environment,” Gardner said. “Everything I’m getting is going mostly towards my daughters to make sure they have a great, great life. Make sure we won’t have to struggle anymore.”
8 year old Kayzen Hunter raised over $80k for his friend and Waffle House employee Devonte Gardner and his two daughters.— Yasmin Vossoughian Reports (@YasminMSNBC) March 4, 2023
Watch their heartfelt conversation with @yasminv. pic.twitter.com/m6J8adCIuj