LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Dr. David Jones is still impressed by the sight of it: A smiling fast-food worker taking the time to feed a disabled woman her favorite meal, a steak burrito.
Jones was eating dinner with his wife at a Mexican restaurant in Louisville last month when he noticed the worker helping a woman pull her wheelchair up to the table. The worker chatted with her, put on some latex gloves, grabbed her burrito and began helping her take bites.
“He actually started to feed the young lady, and I think he had known her because she had been in there before, but I thought, you know that is really kind of awesome,” said Jones, a Louisville dentist.
Jones took out his phone and recorded a 51-second video of the good deed, later sharing it with a few friends. They urged him to send it to a local news station, and the video spread around the Internet after that.
“There’s so many things that go on that people watch on the news that it’s not even worth to watch anymore, and then all of a sudden you see something like that and it gives you hope, it gives you hope in humanity,” said Jones, who himself has practiced dentistry on missionary trips around the world.
The worker, Ridge Quarles, didn’t know he was being filmed. Quarles and other a few other workers had been assisting the woman for years at the Qdoba restaurant. They still don’t know her name.
After the video spread, he began getting calls from people around the world.
“Never in a million years would I have thought this was going to happen, it’s just simply a day just like any other day,” he said. “I just wanted to be able to help her out and someone was moved by it,” he said.
One insistent caller wanted to send him money, though he repeatedly declined. He was embarrassed.
“I couldn’t take it,” he said. “So she said well how about a gift card?”
Quarles worked at the restaurant throughout college, moving up from line server to manager. A short time after the video was recorded, Quarles started a new job at a marketing firm in Louisville.
In late May, Quarles got a call saying he had won a good deed award from an organization connected to former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. It’s called the “Do Right” Award, and Quarles is going to East Liverpool, Ohio — the coach’s hometown — later this month to accept it.
Quarles said the woman was always chatty, and looked forward to coming into the restaurant after being dropped off by public transportation. Sometimes she would stay for hours, eating both lunch and dinner.
“Especially now after all this I would love to meet her again,” he said. “I think she would be really touched, I think it would mean a lot.”