A March 17 article in the Washington Post told the story of Evoni Williams, a waitress at the Waffle House in La Marque, TX. The Post reports: It all started with a Facebook post. On the morning of March 3, Laura Wolf was eating breakfast at a Waffle House in La Marque when she overheard an older man, who reminded her of her late father, tell Williams he had trouble with his hands. The man, later identified as regular customer Adrien Charpentier, had an oxygen tank nearby and needed help cutting up his food. “Without hesitation,” Wolf wrote, Williams “took his plate and began cutting up his ham.” Wolf snapped a photo and after some internal debate over whether to share the photo, the moment was posted on her Facebook page. As of Friday afternoon, the post has been shared more than 73,000 times. “It touched me,” said Wolf, 46. “Because she’s so young. I have four kids who would’ve done the same thing, but you just don’t always see something like this.” The following day, Williams’s Facebook notifications began to light up. Her friends saw Wolf’s post and tagged her in it. Williams had no idea that someone took a photo that morning. The diner was so busy that a line extended outside the door. She said helping Charpentier was reflexive. She has been working at Waffle House since last June to save for college and this, she figured, was just the right thing to do. “I would want someone to help my grandmother or grandfather,” Williams said.
The story began to spread, eventually capturing the attention of Bobby Hocking, the Mayor of La Marque, TX. He says he “immediately felt in my spirit that I needed to do something for her.” As a result, Mayor Hocking declared March 8 as Evoni Williams Day. That’s quite an honor for an 18-year-old girl working to save money for college. But the story gets even better. Mayor Hocking received an email from Texas Southern University President Austin A. Lane, asking if the school could present Williams with a scholarship. So, a few days later, surrounded by her mother, co-workers and more than a half-dozen television camera crews and reporters, Williams broke down in tears as she received a check for $16,000 toward her college education as she was given her own special day by the mayor. “It’s always refreshing in this day and age to see the younger generation helping the older generation,” said Hocking, 68. “Because our young generation is not always cast in the best light. It never gets old seeing young people help.”
Williams still works at Waffle House five days a week — she patiently answered questions for this interview between serving customers — and plans to do so until she starts classes in the fall at Houston-based Texas Southern, where she will major in business management. Wolf said Williams does not have a car to get to classes, but some people have offered to start a GoFundMe page for her, proving that a moment of kindness can change a life.
Eventually, Williams said, she wants to open her own restaurant. She likes to cook and has worked for years in the service business. It is no surprise she enjoys assisting others, even when no one is watching. That is the lesson she wants people to take away from this attention. “Always be helpful,” Williams said. “Just try to help others as little or as much as you can. It doesn’t take much.”
What a great line: “Just try to help others as little or as much as you can. It doesn’t take much.” We would do well to incorporate that advice into our lives as believers because the Bible is filled with this very instruction. Let me give you just a sample:
Philippians 2:4, Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (NIV)
Hebrews 13:16, And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (NIV)
James 1:27, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (NIV)
1 John 3:17, If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (NIV)
One of the most well-known stories of the Bible is the story of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. While there are many lessons to learn from the story, it is fundamentally about one man helping another who is in need.
When I first read the story of Evoni Williams helping a man merely by cutting up his food, I was reminded of how simple acts of kindness can have a great IMPACT on people and ultimately the world. And while you may not get a day named in your honor or some kind of a financial reward, it will almost always open the door to some kind of blessing, maybe even some kind of special act of God. I’m reminded of the story of Jesus’ first miracle where he turned water into wine at a wedding feast at a place called Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11). When the wedding hosts ran out of wine for their guests, Jesus instructed servants to fill 6 stone water jars to the brim. When they did, the water became wine. The guests who enjoyed the wine never knew what happened, while the servants who did the work witnessed a miracle. The same often happens for us when we help (serve) others.
So here’s the message. Helping others is the desire of God for all of us who are a part of His family. And sometimes, it’s through the simplest act of help that God moves in us, through us and around us. Remember that the next time you feel like God is calling you to a greater life. That might mean doing something as simple as listening to the people around you and then responding with a simple act of kindness and service. Once you do, just sit back and see what God does.