“Sit down, eat your food. I got her.”
A couple has routinely visited their local Springfield, Illinois IHOP for years. These regulars’ interactions with their waiter have now gone viral for a reason that may “restore your faith in humanity” just as it did for another customer who snapped a photo of the gesture.
This husband takes his wife — who has Huntington’s disease — to IHOP almost every Saturday. He used to enjoy his usual order of two eggs over-easy, one buttered pancake, and a side of sausage, but after his wife’s health began declining, he refused to tuck into his own meal before helping his wife eat.
As of late, he only knew how his regular order tasted cold. His wife needed her food to be cut up and fed to her, and by the time she finished her meal, his had cooled.
Joe Thomas, 43, has worked at IHOP for 11 years. He is known for his love of people, which shines through in all of his interactions at work.
Thomas has described himself as having a “soft heart.” He cared for his mother who passed away from diabetes, and has a compassionate outlook for those who are struggling.
After his mother passed, he cared for his father, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He worked at a rehabilitation center for a year before working at IHOP.
Considering his past, it was completely within Thomas’ nature to notice the husband sacrificing his own enjoyment of a warm meal so that he could feed his wife. One day, Thomas told the husband, “Sit down, eat your food. I got her.”
He did not even give the husband a chance to politely decline. Thomas did not do this act of kindness once, but has been cutting up the wife’s food and feeding it to her every single time they eat at the restaurant.
Keshia Dotson, a customer who observed this heartwarming interaction, posted a photo on Facebook of Thomas wiping the woman’s mouth with a napkin. Her post has received almost 10,000 likes and over 4,000 shares.
Thomas’ first reaction to the photo of him going viral was that it felt good to be recognized. He further explained to WICS, “It felt good, but at the same time I was like I really don’t care for the recognition too much because it’s just something that should automatically be done regardless. I am out there to help anyone if I can, don’t really look for anything in return just have a good day and that’s it.”
Thomas was even given the opportunity to become a nurse after his compassionate nature was put on display through Dotson’s Facebook post. No matter what position Thomas holds, it is clear that he will go above and beyond to treat others with the respect and dignity.