Witnessing acts of kindness at Wendy’s

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

While having lunch with my husband at Wendy’s I glanced out the window and saw an ancient car pulled up. I watched as a little grey haired man slowly emerged from the passenger side of the car. Using a cane, he carefully walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. Curious to see who was driving, I watched as nothing happened. After what seemed an eternity a woman’s feet appeared and gradually touched the ground. She eventually grasps the doorframe and haltingly struggled to her feet.

Expecting a walker or at least a cane to appear, I was astonished to see her reach out and take her husband’s hand. Holding only his hand she painstakingly moved one foot slowly forward, then stopped as if to summon strength. Mesmerized, I watched in dismay as, slower than slow motion, she gradually inched herself forward toward the sidewalk. Suddenly she stopped. I could read it in her eyes. That step up was more than she could manage.

Dashing outside I said, “Ma’am, there is a ramp over here” motioning to a spot a few feet away. Her husband nodded “yes” and turned toward it. “I can’t”, she simply replied. “Do you need to sit down?” I asked. “Yes” she said. Just then a nice gentleman came outside asking, “Do you need any help?” “She needs to sit down” I said, grateful for the help. He took her arm and asked, incredulously, “in the driver’s seat?” I simply nodded yes, unable to speak.

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Cautiously, with the aid of the strong gentleman, she maneuvered back to the car and was safely inside with the door still open. Thanking the kind helpful gentleman and breathing a sigh of relief, I returned to my lunch.

Expecting her husband to join her in the car, I was surprised to see him come inside. He stood in the middle of the room for some time, then finally pulled a chair out and sat down. “What was he waiting for?” I wondered. After some time one of the waitresses (Elaon Hudson) came out to collect trays.

I motioned to her and asked if someone needed to check on him and see if everything was alright. “They come in here all the time,” she said, nodding. “They come in and she orders.” A million questions flooded my mind. Did he go into Wendy’s expecting her to come in and order? Did he realize how weak she really was and that she should never have been out, let alone driving? Where was their family? Why were they supposedly all alone? Did their family know of their predicament?

The waitress bustled off, alerted the manager (General Manager Shane Smith), and he came right out. He sat and talked with the little man for some time, then helped him outside and into his car. As the manager stood by the car, they continued to talk. Going inside, he came out with a huge cold drink for them. Finally he said, “You all get out of this heat, now” and came inside.

Looking at my husband I said, “Honey”, we are really blessed!” I use a cane for balance and he uses a walker because he has artificial legs, but we are still mentally alert and able to get out. Oh, how thankful we are for God’s blessings!

They were still sitting in the hot car when we left.

The next time my husband and I had lunch at Wendy’s, I had a nice long talk with the same sweet waitress. The couple we had seen are regular patrons of theirs. The lady had a medical emergency one time outside and they had to call the ambulance. The day we saw them, the manager had seen to it that they had some food in addition to the drink. Apparently they left for home soon after we did. She said the crew kept an eye on them, all the while doing their own work. What kind, caring, compassionate people we have here in Picayune at Wendy’s! And that, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story!

Betty Hendricks Padgett