A Waitress Does Something Nice For 2 Firemen, Their Next Move Is Completely Unexpected

Published on 01/30/2020
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A young waitress by the name of Liz Woodward did not have a clue that a random good deed of hers would boomerang back! She decided to do something for the two firemen who stepped into the diner to catch breakfast after dealing with a terrible warehouse fire the previous night. She ended up paying for their meal to show them her gratitude. She had no idea at all that this act of kindness would become viral and change things for her entire family.

A Waitress Does Something Nice For 2 Firemen, Their Next Move Is Completely Unexpected

The Graveyard Shift

The night in question happened in 2015. For Liz Woodward, it started as a regular day but became more than that. She had been working her waiting job at the 130 Diner in Delran, New Jersey.

The Graveyard Shift

The Graveyard Shift

A Big Fire

Two firefighters then walked in. Liz noticed that they looked exhausted, and one of the two even went over to ask her for the largest cup of coffee possible. The local news had reported on a big fire in North Brunswick, so Liz guessed that this pair of men just got there from a very big firefight.

A Big Fire

Absolutely Exhausted

The terrible fire tore through a North Brunswick warehouse and called for mass evacuations in the area. It took 12 hours to put it out, and these firemen had been there from the very beginning. They were, of course, very tired. You can imagine how surprised they must have been after seeing the note on their bill.

Absolutely Exhausted

A Touching Note

This was what Liz wrote on the bill: “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.

A Touching Note

Fueled By Fire

Her note continued to say, 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.”

A Touching Note

Fueled By Fire

Left Smiling

This gesture must have felt like an oasis in the middle of the desert for these firemen. It was a great thing to see after they spent 12 hours on the fire. They were grateful to get something like this. They thanked her and then walked out happily.

Left Smiling

Sharing Her Story

Liz did not expect anything else to happen, but good deeds do come when you don’t expect it. The firemen felt touched by this small act of kindness on Liz’s end. They even took to Facebook to talk about it.

Sharing Her Story

A Rave Review

He encouraged other people to drop by 130 Diner, which was where they had an incredible experience that morning. He went on to positively praise not only the diner but also the friendly wait staff.

A Rave Review

He Uncovered Something

Paul Hullings, one of the firemen, felt overwhelmed with gratitude and wanted to return the favor. He took it upon himself to look up more information about the waitress online. He couldn’t believe what he found…

Sharing Her Story

He Uncovered Something

A Rough Patch

He found something heartbreaking when he was finally able to locate the Facebook page Liz used. He found out that she was actually going through a very rough time. What could be going on?

A Rough Patch

Meet Liz Woodward

At first glance, you’d probably assume that Liz Woodward is just like any other young person. Of course, she was incredibly kind, but her life and history were not exactly extraordinary. Times weren’t easy for them at all at the moment.

Meet Liz Woodward

Meet Liz Woodward

Daddy’s Girl

However, it is noticeable that she had a close relationship with Steve, her dad. He was a man who had several passions in life. He was a bass player in a bluegrass band when he was younger and liked to ride his motorbike around town.

Daddy’s Girl

Father-Daughter Bond

It was also very noticeable that the bond Liz had with her father was exceptionally strong. They often spent quality time together and enjoyed doing many of the same activities both in and outdoors. It was indeed very special!

Father-Daughter Bond

A Detour

At one point, Steve also helped run the PHH Mortgage Disaster Recovery Department. He was a big supporter of the Philadelphia Phillies and loved his pepper-jack grilled cheese sandwiches. However, his life took a detour after something took place in 2010.

A Detour

A Terrible Incident

The entire family got the shock of their lives after Steve suffered a brain aneurysm in 2010. However, Steve was a fighter and survived this incident, but the sad news is that he became a quadriplegic because of it.

A Terrible Incident

A Terrible Incident

Were Things Going Downhill

he news of Steve’s recent life-altering event was not easy for the entire family, but they knew it would not let it get in the way of how special their family was and were proud of Steve and what is was able to overcome. But that was not all…

Were Things Going Downhill

Things Were Getting Worse

Before the aneurysm ruptured, the entire family already had it rough thanks to the recession of 2008. They were all having a difficult time with Steve losing his job and becoming unable to provide for the family. Needless to say, the ruptured aneurysm made things that much worse for the lot.

Things Were Getting Worse

The First Year

His movement was restricted, and Steve had to spend a year in and out of both nursing homes and hospitals. His first year was maybe the most difficult. He could not do anything by himself.

The First Year

Loss Of Independence

It must have been challenging to go from being an active person to immobile all of sudden. Being a very active and independent person, often at times, Steve felt as though his freedom was taken away from as he was no longer self-sufficient.

Loss Of Independence

Getting Somewhat Better

After the incident, as he was no longer an independent man, he needed someone to walk him through each task. He had a hard time getting used to his new circumstance. Soon enough, he was able to make progress with his family supporting him throughout the entire process.

Getting Somewhat Better

Getting Somewhat Better

Always There

Thanks to them, he was able to be more lucid and even relearned how to speak and swallow. There was one person who never left his side and played a huge role in this. It was a good thing that he always had Liz and her siblings to look after him when they had time.

Always There

By His Side

However, it was his wife Beth who always stayed by his side. His spouse of 25 years became his crutch in a way and kept true to her vow to stand by Steve for better or worse, in illness or in health.

By His Side

By His Side

She Couldn’t Do It All

On top of this all, she still had household chores and responsibilities she had to accomplish them while looking after him at the same time. She was an exceptional wife and an amazing mother.

She Couldn’t Do It All

Just One Wish

There is no doubt that Steve would not have progressed this much without her. Even though his progress made his family feel hopeful, there was something that Beth wanted for him but could not afford. What was it?

Just One Wish

His Needs

The entire family had to accept that Steve would never walk again. However, they wanted him to have the opportunity to get to and from places on his own. What could they do to make that happen?

His Needs

His Needs

It Wasn’t Possible

Even though Steve already had a wheelchair and could make his way around their case, they all wanted him to have the ability to go outside as well. There was a customized special vehicle that could help him with this.

It Wasn’t Possible

Making A Plan

However, the Woodward family could not afford its $60,000 to $80,000 price tag. They could not even shell out the money to buy a second-hand unit for half the original price. What were they possibly going to do?

Making A Plan

Raising Funds

The entire family, of course, wanted to find the money to buy a wheelchair accessible van for the patriarch. Liz was aware that it was going to be hard to do on their own, which is why she opted to try GoFundMe.

Raising Funds

Raising Funds

Staying Hopeful

She made a page on this site to help her father and laid out the details of his current condition. After putting it up, the only thing they could do was to hope for the best.

Staying Hopeful

Thinking Positive

The family kept extremely positive and hopeful, always thinking of the best. They never really doubted that it was possible to find the money to help Steve become for independent. But would they raise enough money to help their dad?

Thinking Positive

All The Details

The GoFund Me page that had beeen created came with many photos of Steve and his family as well as details of everything they had to endure after the incident happened. Everything was explained in detail, and they reached out to as many social media platforms as possible to try and get the best responses.

All The Details

Life Changing

They also added an explanation about how this special vehicle was going to improve the quality of his life. On top of this, they recounted a time when a van like that helped them out in the past.

Graduation Day

In 2012, Liz’s youngest sister Catherine graduated. That was the moment they realized how nice it would be if Steve could go out of the house once more. They wanted him to be present at her graduation and got a rental wheelchair accessible van.

Graduation Day

Graduation Day

Happier Times

Everyone saw how much happier Steve was on that day. After all, it was the first time he got to see other members of their clan since they gathered to celebrate the graduation of his youngest daughter.

Happier Times

Another Tragedy

They saw that he was noticeably happy for the first time, and they wanted it to happen more often. Steve got to laugh and swap childhood stories with other relatives, and this would not have happened without the special van. These moments were short-lived, however, because the family was struck by yet another tragedy.

Another Tragedy

It Got Worse

Due to his condition, Steve lost his job and was rendered much less mobile. You might think that it could not get worse than this, but it did 4 years after the incident. In 2014, their home got foreclosed, which meant they had to move. They did not have any other choice but to relocate somewhere smaller.

It Got Worse

It Got Worse

Something Was Coming

It made things more difficult for the family since he needed to navigate a very tight space. Even though it seemed like there was nothing they could do to improve things, Liz stayed steadfast and hopeful. Despite this, there was no way for her to guess what was about to come her way!

Something Was Coming

Telling Them

When Tim Young, the other firefighter Liz encountered at the diner, found out about their situation, he wanted to offer her a helping hand. He was trying to think of the best way to do, and eventually came up with this idea.

Telling Them

Telling Them

Social Media

On social media, he posted a link to her GoFundMe page and wrote, “Turns out, the young lady who gave us a free meal is the one that could use the help…” At that point, the fundraiser was still a long way away from its goal of $80,000. Tim hoped that he could help them out a little by sharing the GoFundMe link. He did not have any idea about how people would respond!

Social Media

Going Viral

Before he posted the link to the GoFundMe campaign, they already raised a significant $25,000. This might be a lot of money, but it was still very far from $80,000. Things changed when his post went viral!

Going Viral

Not Expected

After only three days, the donations went up to $56,000. There was even a generous person who made an incredible $5,000 donation! Liz was overwhelmed by this response, but there was more to come.

Not Expected

Not Expected

Media Frenzy

It did not take long before the media covered this story. After all, it was a touching and inspiring one. A few days after Tim posted about her story, major news outlets such as Today, Buzzfeed, and ABC News ate it up and spread it further.

Media Frenzy

Media Frenzy

News Travels

As we all know news travels – fast! The story had also spread worldwide, everyone knew about and everyone was talking about it. What was about to happen next, was all thanks to Tim. Liz was definitely not expecting it.

News Travels

Helping The Family

In no time at all, camera crews went to the diner to take photos of both Liz and the firemen. They were all invited for an interview with ABC News. The attention, of course, helped the Woodward family. We are sure that Liz was surprised when she finally saw what was going on.

Helping The Family

An Amazing Surprise

It was not that long ago when reaching their goals seemed like a pipe dream. However, Liz’s act of kindness led to a media frenzy that she did not expect. Upon looking at the page, Liz saw that they reached $86,500 already!

An Amazing Surprise

An Amazing Surprise

A Big Impact

She thanked everyone who helped restore her faith in humanity. The young woman said, “Look for those opportunities because they are everywhere. You can make a difference — it doesn’t always have to be an elaborate production or effort- it’s always the little things that have the greatest impact.”

A Big Impact

A Moving Donation

Before she could even start looking for a wheelchair accessible van, the story caught the interest of Mobility Ventures. It is a company that makes customized vehicles for handicapped clients.  What they did was absolutely amazing!

A Moving Donation

A Moving Donation

Pay It Forward

Liz was surprised that they wanted to pay it forward by doing an act of kindness for her and the rest of the family. The company gave them a brand new MV-1, their latest wheelchair accessible van model. On top of that, one of the most popular shows on the planet contacted Liz and requested an interview with her!

Pay It Forward

Liz Got A Call

Steve was immobile by the aneurysm, so he often passed the time by watching TV. One of the shows that he likes to watch was The Ellen DeGeneres Show. His wife said that he often chuckles when it was on!

Liz Got A Call

Who Was On the Other End Of The Phone

One evening when the family were at home eating dinner together, they were quite startled when the phone rang, but automatically assumed it was just another generous donor. But they were sure to find out who was on the other end of the line.

Who Was On the Other End Of The Phone

Meeting Ellen

So surprised when the crew got in touch with Liz, that it felt like a dream come true when they got invited to visit LA to appear on the talk show. They discussed what happened that day in the diner and the way the firefighters discovered their problems. By the end of the segment, the generous talk show host gave them something that brought tears to their eyes.

Meeting Ellen

Meeting Ellen

They Kept Coming

Ellen asked the firemen if they went to 130 Diner often. After hearing that they do, the talk show host shocked them by letting them know that Shutterfly, a personalized photo gifts company, paid for their meals there for the next 5 years! But that was not all.  However, there was more. Ellen also said that Shutterfly was touched by what Liz did. That was the moment she whipped out a check for $20,000 courtesy of the company!

They Kept Coming

They Kept Coming

Happy Tears

However, there was more. Ellen also said that Shutterfly was touched by what Liz did. That was the moment she whipped out a check for $20,000 courtesy of the company! The Audience went wild and of course, Liz was in tears.

Happy Tears

So Much Gratitude

Liz was no doubt extremely grateful and beyond overjoyed about what she and her family had received. And she knew most of all that her dad, Steve would be so appreciative. All in all, things looked like they were coming together.

So Much Gratitude

Support Through Family & Friends

A few months had passed by and Steve was doing quite well. They were still receiving quite a bit of positive attention and of course, they had so much support from their kind and loving family and friends.

Support Through Family & Friends

Another Turn For The Worse

Even though things for Steve and his family were looking great and not only did he get some more independence through the incredible and thoughtful donations but everyone was really happy. Steve had been through some rough times after the ruptured aneurysm, he got to experience plenty of joy and euphoria thanks to the kindness of Liz.

Another Turn For The Worse

Passing Away

The family was able to buy the van he wanted and travel together! His quality of life truly improved thanks to his generous daughter. Unfortunately, Steve passed away due to his condition in 2019. Even though he is no longer with us, the Woodward family was very happy that he was able to live to the fullest in his twilight years.

Passing Away

Passing Away

Liz Now

There is no doubt that Liz Woodward has come a long way from where she used to be. She does not work at 130 Diner any longer but serves as the director of agent services at a realtor agency.

Liz Now

Liz Now

Newly Married

Liz is now happily married to a man called Tommy as well. The two of them settled down, tied the knot and are living fairly close to the house that Liz grew up in. And of course she still extremely close to her family.

Newly Married

Married With Children

The couple also welcomed a beautiful and adorable child. It is are so heartwarming to be able to hear that the little one was able to meet her grandfather Steve before he passed away. And we are very certain Liz and Tommy’s child will grow up hearing all the wonderful stories about Steve

Married With Children

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