A New Jersey waitress who paid two firefighters’ meal tab had her favor returned in a major, unexpected way.
Paul Barb and Tim Young visited the cafe where Liz Woodward worked after battling a fire for 12 hours. Newsner reports that the two were so exhausted that they set out to get the strongest coffee they possibly could find.
Woodward greeted them at the cafe, and she later overheard them describing to someone their 12 hour ordeal. When they finally received their bill, Woodward informed them that she had taken care of it.
“Your breakfast is on me today,” she wrote. “Thank you for all that you do, for serving others & for running into the places everyone else runs away from. 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!”
Barb and Young were touched by the gesture.
“Such a selfless and kind act. I definitely urge my friends to make a trip out and support the business, and if Liz happens to be your waitress, tip big,” Young wrote on Facebook.
The story, however, didn’t end there. The firefighters discovered that Woodward’s father is a quadriplegic and had been paralyzed for some time.
At the time of their encounter, Woodward was trying to raise money to get a wheelchair accessible van for her dad, who was also a brain aneurysm survivor.
“Turns out, the young lady who gave us a free meal is really the one that could use the help,” the firefighters wrote in another Facebook post. They began spreading the word and soon helped Woodward collect over $80,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.
“All I did was pay for their breakfast. I didn’t expect anything more than a smile,” she said.