Waitress Pays For Firefighters’ Breakfast And Gets Much More Than She Ever Hopped For
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Great gestures and never forgotten, and Liz Woodward knows it the best. Back in 2015, Liz was a 24-years-old waitress who has paid for the two meals of two fighters who looked as if they had the hardest shift of their lives.
Liz knew how much firefighters put into their work, so she decided to make a little effort and show them how much she appreciates their service. She never expected to see them again, nevertheless that they would give back to her so much. Discover how one-note changed everyone’s lives for the better.
Not Another Day At Work
Liz Woodward started her shift as usual at the 130 Diner in Delran, New Jersey. At the time Liz was only 24-years-old and she had no idea what life has planned for her. On that important day, on July 23, Liz was working night-shift. It was an easy night, until around 5:00 a.m. two firefighters enter the restaurant. They looked as if they had a rough night.
They Had A Busy Night
As soon as they enter the restaurant, one of the firefighters ordered from Liz the biggest cup of coffee that they had. She knew that a near bu warehouse was on fire. The news about wirehouse burning was on news all day, so Liz assumed that they probably had one of the hardest shifts in their lives. So, she decided to do something nice.
They Worked For Hours On That Warehouse
One of the firefighters was Paul Hullings. Paul was on the scene for 12 hours to put out that fire. Firefighters can spend days without sleep fighting fire. The other firefighter with Paul was responsible for pumping water off location. So, when they asked for the bill, Liz did something that shocked them.
The Most Important Note
When you spend hours and hours fighting fire you just want a few moments of peace. Good coffee and food are part of that peace. So, that’s why Liz’s action surprised them even more. Liz brought a bill and carefully put it on the table. What they saw on the bill was actually a handwritten note that said the following…
Fueled By Fire And Driven By Courage
A touching note said: “Your breakfast is on me today — Thank you for all that you do; for serving others & for running into the places everyone else runs away from. No matter your role, you are courageous, brave, and strong… Thank you for being bold and badass everyday! Fueled by fire and driven by courage — what an example you are. Get some rest.”
These words made them smile and find instant energy for another day. They thanked her and walked away. But that wasn’t the last time that this trio would come together again.
Pay It Forward
Paul Hullings and Tim Young couldn’t stop thinking about small at first, but the massive gesture in reality. So, they decided to share it with the world. They took her kindness to Facebook and called friends firefighters to eat there. But, that wasn’t all. Paul, the younger firefighter wanted to learn more about Liz, so he searched her on social media. What he found made his jaws drop.
Firefighter Searched On Liz
Paul hoped that she was on Facebook and he was right. He saw on her profile something that made him realize how much Liz actually gave when she paid them that breakfast. There was a lot more about Liz that they thought or knew. Liz had a battle on her own, and Paul knew that they have to help somehow.
Nothing About Liz Was Ordinary
Just on first look, Liz seemed like any other 24-year-old girl in the world. She had a job, was kind, and came for a solid family of six members. However, Liz was most attached to her father, Steve. Steve was an interesting man, with numerous passions. He loved the motorcycle and loved grilled cheese sandwiches. He was a true patriarch of the family. UNtil 2010, when everything changed.
One Day Everything Went Wrong
Overall, the Woodward family was an ordinary family until 2010. That year Steve was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm rupture. But, there was more. this condition was followed by two strokes. Luckily, he pulled through, but unfortunately, he was left with a case of quadriplegia. This was a strong hit for the family.
The Family Reality Going Down
A once thriving and healthy man had to learn how to live differently. Moreover, he had to let her family care for other family members. However, many blame the 2008 recession for Steve’s condition. He lost his job and he wasn’t able to provide for this family. This hit him strongly.
This Was Difficult Period For Liz
The recession was just the beginning of the rough time for Liz and her family. Than aneurysm happened and made everything worse. After 567 between hospitals and nursing homes and the change came. With the help of family and professionals, Steve started making serious progress. He started functioning again as a healthy person. He relearned how to speak, eat, swallow, and speak. One person played a big role in his recovery.
Steve Had A Guarding Angel
Liz and her siblings helped her dad as much as they could, amid working and school. However, one person stayed with Steve 24/7. That was his wife, Beth. Beth showed everyone that for better or for worse matters. Beth not only stick to her husband’s side, but she kept the family together and running. But, Steve needed one thing that she couldn’t get it for him.
Steve Needed A Handicapped-Accessible Van
No one was expecting to see Steve walking again/ So, now the family had to help him move around easily. Therefore, they needed to buy a handicapped-accessible van. At the time, this wasn’t something that the Woodward family could afford. The average cost of a new van is between $60,000 and $80,000. The used one? $20,000. But, Liz decided to try at least and make it happen.
When people don’t have a solution, they reach out to the community, hoping to get needed support. That’s exactly what Liz did. She created a GoFundMe campaign for her father. And she spared no details. Liz wrote about how her dad almost missed her sister’s graduation because they had no special van. Luckily, they did manage to rent one just for that day. They had to rent the van once again. It was for Steve’s father’s funeral. But the real tragedy was just approaching.
Losing The Family Home
The Woodward family was no stranger to trials, eve since 2008 when Steve lost his job. In 2014 the family lost its house to foreclosure. Steve and his family had to move to a smaller place with carpeted floors, which only made it harder for him to move into the wheelchair. Things looked dark, but Liz didn’t lose hope. They had no idea at the time, but their luck was about to change.
Spreading The News
Fast forward to 2015 and Liz and her kind act: once Tim Young, one of the firefighters, leaned about Liz’s family situation he wanted to do whatever he could to help. So, he turned to social media and said: “Turns out, the young lady who gave us a free meal is really the one that could use the help…” Next to that, he put a link to her GoFundMe campaign. Liz put campaign goal $80,000. She would check her camping for time to time, but nothing important would happen. But, could Tim actually made a difference
GoFundMe Campaign Went Big
Tim did so much for Liz with only one post. People discovered the campaign for her dad and the amount reached $56,000. Liz couldn’t believe it. People steeped in nad one individual even donated $5,000 and chose to remain anonymous. But, no one including Liz and her new friends’ firefighters had no idea what was next.
Becoming A Huge Media News
Liz’s story and situation touched so many across the country. In no time, every major media channel wanted a piece of this story. Tim’s post went viral and it was picked up by major media such as People, Today, ABC News and Buzzfeed. Liz and her new friends were even invited on an ABC News show. The diner was full of cameras all day and for days Liz only gave interviews. In all that fuzz she had no time to check the GoFundMe page. She was about to be surprised.
An Amazing Outcome
Liz ut all her hop into the GoFundMe campaign for her dad. So, now when she saw that her goal was surpassed at $ 86,500. Liz couldn’t believe that the simple act of kindness could spark so much. After years of real struggle, the Woodward family could finally breathe easier.
Liz did the first thing she could. She wrote a heartwarming post about the impact a simple act of kindness could have. She only wrote that it’s always about small things. Now, she was ready for an additional surprise.
After she shared her happiness with her online community, she started searching for the perfect van. But, before she could make a purchase, she was contacted by a company called Mobility Ventures. The company was inspired to do a kind act themselves.
They donated the van to Liz and her family, a brand new MV-1, at the time the best wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Furthermore, the goodies would keep coming.
The Biggest Appearance
Ever since Steve had quadriplegia in 2010, Steve couldn’t do much but lay down and watch television shows. One of his favorites was The Ellen DeGeneres Show. After the story about Liz and her act of kindness went viral, Ellen DeGeneres decided that she wants to hear their story in-person.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Liz couldn’t believe that she is about to meet Ellen and appear on her show. Ellen invited both Liz and firefighters duo to share their story. For Liz, this was a dream coming true. Little did she know that Ellen has a surprise that would bring tears to their eyes.
Ellen’s Gift To Liz
Ellen just asked the two firemen if they like eating at the 130 Diner. They said yes, and she dropped a bomb on them. A company Shutterfly, known for specialty products, had something for them. Shutterfly was going to pay for all of their meals for the next five years. They were in shock. Then she turned to Liz and told her that she did a fine job of paying it forward to others and that she had a gift for her.
Liz was presented with a giant $20,000 check. This made Liz instantly burst into tears of joy. At that moment everything seemed perfect. But, there was a dark cloud coming. Once Steve got his van he was able to move around and live his life again, under different terms. He even got to see a Philly game. Sadly, it was time for Steve to say goodbye.
Steve Says Final Goodbye
Steve had a great family, and a loving and supporting wife, next to kind children. He had nothing to regret. Steve passed in 2019, with good memory and great family behind. Maybe his biggest legacy was actually leaving so wonderful children behind. The Woodward family mournes, not knowing that they will have a family edition soon.
Liz After Her Father Died
The grieving period wasn’t easy, neither for Liz or other family members, However, they knew that they had to find the strength to move on. And a lot happened in Liz’s life ever since. She went through major changes in her family, love, and professional life.
New Chapter In Life
Ever since her father passed away she changed her life significantly. At the time she is working as a director of agent services at a real estate agency. But, this is not the biggest news about her life. Life decided to give her more, something that could make her life more whole.
Appearing on Ellen brough Liz much more than she expected. This is exactly where she met the love of her love. On Ellen, Liz met the love of her life, a man named Tommy. They dated for two years before the big day.
Happily Ever After
After two years of getting to know each other and sharing love, Liz and Tommy decided to get married. Now, after more than two years of knowing each other and dating, Tom and Liz are married with a child of their own.
Pay It Forward Pays Off
Yes, it is sad that Liz lost her father in the meantime, but as she said, one thing happened that makes the pain easier. Steve did get to know his grandson before saying the final goodbye.