Photos of Joe Thomas, a server at IHOP in Springfield, Illinois, helping to feed a disabled customer have gone viral, but Thomas, 43, insists he was just trying to do a good deed, one that he does quite regularly. However, he never thought his kind gestures would open him up to opportunities that would change his life.
IHOP customer Keisha Dotson took photos of Thomas assisting a disabled diner who was sitting with her husband. Thomas was helping feed her and even dabbing her mouth and cheeks with a napkin so the woman’s husband could also enjoy his meal too. She later posted the pictures on IHOP’s Facebook page and they’ve received a lot of attention since.
Dotson captioned a picture of Thomas, “Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirkson I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your servers. A man and disabled women [sic] were dining, and your server sat down with them and proceeded to help feed the disabled woman while her companion enjoyed his food. My faith in humanity has been restored a little today.”
But Thomas thought the whole situation was no big deal. “I just love helping people,” he told WAND-TV. “Every Saturday they’ll come in and they don’t even need menus or anything. I know exactly what they want.” He added “My mother and father always told me to treat everybody as equals, no matter what race, creed, color, whatever. Treat everybody equal.”
The customer in question is a regular who suffers from Huntington’s disease, causing a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. “I always see him stop eating to feed her and I was like, ‘Heck if I’m not doing anything why don’t I go feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy?” Thomas told WICS. “I didn’t really offer. I just started doing it. I told the gentleman ‘Sit down, eat your food. I got her.'”
Thomas says that since the images went viral he has been offered the opportunity to become a nurse, but he doesn’t see the big deal. “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 told WICS. “Remember that movie, ‘Pay It Foward’? That’s what I’m hoping for,” he said.