An 8-year-old boy in Arkansas has raised more than $104,000 for his favorite waiter, Devonte Gardner. The funds were raised through a GoFundMe campaign created with the help of his mom, Vittoria Hunter.
Gardner and Kayzen Hunter, the 8-year-old, had developed a close bond when Kayzen and his family went to the local Waffle House weekly. Gardner was walking to work every day, and his family of four was living in a motel room with no reliable source of transportation.
On the Go Fund Me page, Kayzen, with the help of his mom, was quoted saying, “Hi, my name is Kayzen, I am 8 years old. I am wanting to raise funds for my friend, Devonte, who I met and have come to know from eating breakfast at Waffle House.”
“Devonte is a hard-working dad with two little girls and a wife. He is a dedicated worker and has to walk or get a ride to get to work every day. He was looking for a decent priced car, and his family was unfortunate and ended up in an apartment riddled with black mold. He had to get his kids out and it set him back a lot,” he continued.
The post concluded by saying, “We are now helping him get into a clean rental property and want to help him even more by raising funds so he has a reliable vehicle to drive his family and get to and from work. Devonte is one of the most joyous and positive people you’ve ever met!! He always greets us with the biggest smile. I hope your heart is as BIG as mine and you will help me spread kindness in the world. Any amount helps!!”
The family had to move out of their previous home due to black mold contamination and rat infestation, making their children sick. Gardner said that all of his tips were going to his kids, but the motel expenses were eating away at his pocket.
“Even when you can work double shifts, it’s hard to get ahead,” Gardner told The Washington Post. “I’m thankful to have a job that I enjoy, but it’s hard to save enough to improve my family’s situation.”
The family’s goal was to raise $5,000 to buy Gardner a reliable vehicle, but the campaign has now accumulated over $104,000. Gardner said that the generosity of the donations has made him almost cry.
The story has gained global attention, with people all over the world donating to the cause. The GoFundMe campaign has inspired many people to pay it forward and help those in need.
Gardner and his family are grateful for the generosity of the donations and are using the money to move into a new home and provide for his family.
“I’m really touched deeply by it all,” Gardner told the Post. “And as far as my little buddy goes, he’s my best friend for life.”