A Good Deed Goes a Long Way


Keshia Dotson

The photo taken by Dotson that showed Thomas’s good deed

Ian Obst, Online Editor

Acts of kindness in the service industry often go unseen by most, but the attention of an IHOP customer in Springfield, Illinois made one good deed go viral.

On March 25, customer Keshia Dotson was dining at the Springfield IHOP on Sunrise Drive when she saw something that she felt had to be noticed. In a post containing an image of the act of kindness, Dotson explained what was occurring.

“A man and disabled women 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,” Dotson posted on Facebook.

Dotson’s post quickly went viral, with replies both the server’s actions and attesting to past actions that reflected his character. Following the post, the story went viral across social media and found itself in news broadcasts worldwide. In the midst of the attention, the server, a man named Joe Thomas, explained why he decided to help the couple, who he says were regular customers,

“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?’ My parents always told me to treat people equally, and that’s what I try to do all the time,” Thomas said in an interview with WICS.

Since then, Thomas himself has received further attention for his actions. He has mentioned being offered a nurse position at an unnamed hospital, and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner stopped by the restaurant with his wife for a meal that Thomas ultimately paid for himself.

“It makes you tear up a little, this kindness, this generosity, this caring for others is just a great thing. It’s very exciting. That’s why we were like let’s go say hi to him and say thank you for being a wonderful person,” Rauner told WICS.

But with the attention dying down, Thomas confessed how he did not feel the attention as necessary.

“It felt good, but at the same time I was like I really don’t care for the recognition to 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 said.