8-Year-Old Arkansas Boy Raises $100K For Waffle House Waiter & His Family


Here’s a little feel good story for your Tuesday.

An eight-year-old Arkansas boy recently started a GoFundMe for a Waffle House employee, in an effort to get him and his family out of a rundown motel.

Meet Kayzen Hunter, the kid from Little Rock, Arkansas who loves spending breakfast at Waffle House with his family. It was there they met waiter Devonte Gardner, according to TODAY.

Kayzen’s mom, Vittoria Hunter, gave a rundown on how they met:

“It was about a year ago when they met. My dad started going and Kayzen would go with him. When he came back home, he talked about Devonte and how much he liked him.”

Gardner also discussed how he grew a close bond to Kayzen:

“Every time he comes in, I always give him a high five because that’s what he expects. 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.”

Gardner memorized the boy’s normal order, which is scrambled eggs with cheese, no toast, hash browns covered with cheese, and an Arnold Palmer.

Vittoria added that they got to learn about Gardner’s family over time. He has a wife, Aissa, and three-year-old daughter Jade, and two-year-old daughter Amoura:

“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. Every time we go in, he’s so smiley, he’s always like, ‘Hey Kayzen, how are you?'”

During one of those trips, Kayzen learned that Gardner had a difficult living situation, and didn’t have a car to drive to work.

Gardner explained why they chose to move to that area:

“We wanted to find something affordable, so we moved into a low-income area. We just got tired of infestations with rats and roaches and all this black mold. My daughters were getting sick.

No heat and things like that. When it was cold outside, we had to bundle up with like four or five blankets in order to stay warm.

It was just horrible.”

That’s when Kayzen realized he wanted to help his friend, says Vittoria:

“He came home and told me that, ‘Hey Mom, Devonte walks or gets a ride to work and I’m gonna start a GoFundMe. I was like, ‘Well, OK, that’s really sweet. It’s a great idea.'”

The initial plan was to raise enough money for Gardner to get a car, because the waiter said the plans on getting a car were put on hold due to living expenses:

“It really set him back because the motel was so expensive.”

With a little bit of his mom’s help, Kayzen aimed to raise $500 for Gardner, with a GoFundMe titled “Help Devonte get a Family Car,” posted on February 18th.

Although it started off a bit slow, once more attention began to grow towards the GoFundMe, it skyrocketed to an insane $100,000.

His mom said that the attention has been a bit overwhelming for the eight-year-old:

“I mean, he’s still eight, you know? The other morning he said, ‘I was just trying to maybe make $5,000 and get him a car.’ Now, it’s turned into a crowd. We had no clue that this was going to happen.

That’s the crazy part to us. I get it, but the goal was $5,000 and people do not care what the goal was; they keep giving and giving.”

Gardner says that he just signed a lease on a two-bedroom apartment, in thanks to Kayzen:

“I will be moving into my apartment very soon. We’re able to have something more stable. I’m gonna save the rest because I want to put my daughters in a good school, I want them to be in a good environment.

Everything I’m getting is going mostly towards my daughters to make sure they have a great, great life. Make sure we won’t have to struggle anymore.”

Gardner also discussed how thankful he is to have met Kayzen:

“He’s a positive young kid. He has a very huge heart, and I’m thankful he came into my life.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock