Kayla Lane, a waitress at West Side Cafe in Fort Worth, Texas, is pretty good at remembering faces, so when she recently saw regular customers Shaun and Debbie Riddle come in without their baby girl, Glory, she inquired about the infant — and learned some heartbreaking news.
"They kind of looked at each other and were very silent," Lane said of the couple's response when she asked about Glory.
It was then that the grieving parents shared that their nine-week old baby had inexplicably passed away in her sleep just a few weeks earlier. It was a revelation that moved Lane to do something incredibly touching, KTVT-TV reported.
Instead of charging the Riddles for their meal, she wrote a message on their bill that read, "Your ticket has been paid for. We are terribly sorry for your loss. God Bless. – The West Side."
The family at first tried to pay anyway, but Lane wouldn't have any of it.
As it turns out, the message that the waitress wrote on the bill turned out to be a white lie, as it was Lane herself who footed the bill for the family — something that she has done on many past occasions for firefighters and military personnel, she told KTVT-TV.
"I feel privileged that I’m able to do it," Lane said, noting that she takes joy in helping make peoples' days brighter.
The heartwarming story made its way into local media after Debbie Riddle posted a Facebook message that detailed the kind deed, noting that she wanted the waitress — and the restaurant — to get much-deserved accolades for offering comfort to her and her family.
"When it was time for us to pay our bill, Kayla brings over our receipt. She didn't even want us to tip her because she said the company took care of her tip as well," the mother wrote. "We hear so much negativity on the news and so that is why I felt led to share this story in hopes that Kayla and this restaurant will get some good recognition."
It didn't take long for the media to take note, with Lane getting a plethora of recognition and with the family receiving an outpouring of support; over the past week, thousands have shared and "liked" the Facebook post.
Debbie Riddle told WFAA-TV that she and her husband have been overjoyed by the response.
"I have so much more I could add but can't find the words to truly express what a profound impact this 'random act of kindness' has had on our family, Kayla's family and hundreds if not thousands more people worldwide," she said in a statement to the outlet. "Loss is an unexplainable tragedy, but this is proof that one person can make a difference."
West Side Cafe also posted the following message on its Facebook page last week, encouraging the Riddles as they embark on "their journey out of darkness":
We at the West Side Cafe are all heartbroken by the loss suffered recently by the Riddle family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them to find the strength to overcome this as best as possible.
We all feel honored to be a daily part of such a great community. For the bond we share with our guests is stronger than anywhere I have experienced in my almost 40 years in the restaurant business.
Kayla's uncommon act of kindness is a common virtue shared by so many of our great co-workers. But this is just a reflection of the warm and loving appreciation which we receive from so many of our great guests.
I just hope this event can help the Riddles move upward on their journey out of darkness.
Thank you all for your comments and support, for this has touched us all very deeply.
The Riddle family has launched an effort called "Glory's Garden" to encourage the public to make birdhouses that will eventually be placed in a garden created in remembrance of the baby.
(H/T: Daily Mail)