An 8 year-old Arkansas boy started a GoFundMe for his favorite Waffle House waiter after finding out he was living in a motel. Kayzen Hunter’s mom Vittoria Hunter said they started going to breakfast at their local Waffle House in Little Rock just about every other weekend and her son would always talk about how much he liked the waiter, Devonte Gardner.
For Gardner, the feeling is mutual. He would greet Kayzen with a high five and always remembered his usual order -scrambled eggs with cheese, no toast, hash browns covered with cheese and an Arnold Palmer. Gardner says “He’s a wonderful kid. He tells me jokes every time he comes in, like, ‘Hey, Devonte, I got a joke for you,’ and the next thing you know, we’re laughing,” he adds.
Vittoria said “As we started to go more and more and we met Devonte, we realized he’s just really a light in the world. It got to the point where we always would sit in his section, he’s so smiley, he’s always like, ‘Hey, Kayzen, how are you?’” One day, Kayzen learned that Gardner had moved into a motel 8 months earlier because his daughters were getting sick from black mold in their apartment and the heat stopped working. The move meant he had to hold off on buying a car.
Vittoria said “He came home and said ‘Hey, Mom, Devonte walks or gets a ride to work and I’m gonna start a GoFundMe,’” Hunter said he begged her for a while to do the GoFundMe before she agreed to take the plunge. The initial idea was to raise enough money to help Gardner buy a car so the original goal was to raise a modest amount of $500 for Gardner. They posted the GoFundMe titled “Help Devonte get a family car” on Feb. 18. Though the Hunters say the GoFundMe started out slow, after passing the initial goal they decided to raise it to $5,000.
As the GoFundMe gained more attention, the amount raised skyrocketed to over $100,000. Gardner just signed a lease on a two-bedroom apartment and plans to get a minivan but will save the rest of the money for his kids. Gardner said Kayzen is a positive kid with a huge heart and he’s thankful he came into his life. Vittoria said “I think so many people spend a lot of energy complaining about what they don’t like but if you just be positive, then you know eventually love and positivity is gonna prevail. It always does.” Kayzen’s father Korey Hunter said “‘Be the change you wish to see in the world,’ right? We know who we are as people and we know the potential of what our children can be.”