When Kayzen Hunter, age 8, visits his local Waffle House in Little Rock, Arkansas, he’s greeted with high-fives from his favorite waiter, Devonte Gardner. Kayzen and his family often ask to sit in Gardner’s section so they can chat while Kayzen enjoys his cheesy hash browns.
As they got to know Gardner, though, they learned he’d hit a rough patch. Black mold and a rat infestation in his previous apartment forced Gardner, his wife and two young daughters to leave their home and most of their belongings.
The family moved into a motel and were barely scraping by on Gardner’s Waffle House tips.