An 8-year-old’s act of kindness has brought an online community together to support a Little Rock, AR, resident and his family.
During one of his weekend visits, loyal customer Kayzen Hunter and his grandfather, John Donofrio, discovered that Devonte Gardner, a Waffle House waiter, often walked miles to commute to and from work due to not having enough money for a car, The Washington Post reports.
The outlet details that the father had to move his wife and two daughters into a motel room after they had to move out of their apartment, which was infested with rats and contaminated with black mold. The family was also forced to give up most of their belongings because of the black mold.
After learning that Gardner was struggling to make ends meet, the second-grader stepped in.
“He kept saying, ‘We have to start a GoFundMe and help Devonte get a car,’” Kayzen’s mother, Vittoria Hunter recalled, according to the outlet. “He didn’t give up on it. He’s a kid with a big heart.”
“Devonte is a positive person who works hard to make everyone happy,” the 8-year-old said. “Sometimes people just need a little help.”
Following a local news station picking up on Hunter’s fundraising efforts, the donations began to overflow. According to the GoFundMe page, it has raised over $100,410 as of this writing, exceeding the initial goal of $5,000.
“I started crying — I’d been quietly struggling and didn’t want to ask anybody for anything,” Gardner told the outlet.
He added: “I love working at Waffle House because I have an opportunity to make people feel good every day. I love the people who come in, especially Kayzen. For this little guy to do this out of the kindness of his heart is really humbling.”
Thanks to the fundraiser, Gardner planned to move himself and his family out of the Little Rock motel and into a one-bedroom apartment later this month, as well as purchase a car.
“I’m really touched deeply by it all,” he said. “And as far as my little buddy goes, he’s my best friend for life.”