Kayzen's family visits this restaurant every weekend and that's how he and Devonte came to be friends.
Kayzen Hunter, an 8-year-old boy from Little Rock, Arkansas, is a testimony to the ancient proverb that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Interestingly, for Kayzen, this friend was not one of his schoolhouse classmates or a neighborhood sports buddy, but a waiter who served meals to his family on their routine visits to a local restaurant named Waffle House. The waiter’s name is Devonte Gardner. As time went by and he remained their recurring waiter at the restaurant, their bond grew into much more than that of a server-customer relationship. For young Kayzen, Devonte became not only one of his favorite waiters but also a nice friend.
“It was about a year ago when they met. My dad started going and Kayzen would go with him. When he came home, he talked about Devonte and how much he liked him,” Kayzen’s mom Vittoria Hunter, who is a real estate agent and broker at Century 21 Parker & Scroggins Realty, told TODAY.com. She said that their family used to visit this restaurant almost every weekend. There, they have been placing their orders with Devonte for about a year. Over time, they became so friendly that Kayzen nowadays gets a high-five from Gardner when they walk inside the restaurant door.
“Devonte always treats everyone with kindness and he always knows exactly what I want: hash browns with cheese and eggs with cheese,” said Kayzen, according to The Washington Post. Also, his 35-year-old mother Vittoria said, talking about Devonte, “He’s the nicest person ever.” During one such time, Kayzen was visiting the Waffle House with his grandfather, John Donofrio. That day, Kayzen learned some details about Devonte’s life. In reality, Devonte was living on a shoestring. He was living in a motel with his wife and children. Upon returning home, Kayzen insisted to her mom to initiate a GoFundMe page to raise money to support his friend Devonte.
Describing Devonte’s life conditions, Kayzen said, “Devonte is a hard-working dad with two little girls and a wife. He is a dedicated worker and has to walk or get a ride to get to work every day. He was looking for a decent-priced car, and his family was unfortunate and ended up in an apartment riddled with black mold. He had to get his kids out and it set him back a lot. We are now helping him get into a clean rental property and want to help him even more by raising funds so he has a reliable vehicle to drive his family and get to and from work,” according to his GoFundMe page, which was started by Vittoria soon enough after Kayzen insisting her to do so. The page was titled, “Help Devonte get a family car.” Adding to it, Kayzen writes on the GoFundMe page, “Devonte is one of the most joyous and positive people you’ve ever met!! He always greets us with the biggest smile. I hope your heart is as BIG as mine and you will help me spread kindness in the world. Any amount helps!” They have raised $120,815, as of February 2024. Following this support, Devonte told TODAY.com that he just signed a lease on a two-bedroom apartment thanks to the efforts of his little friend. “I will be moving into my apartment very soon. We’re able to have something more stable.” He also reported that he’s looking to get a family sedan or minivan but will save the rest of the money for his kids. “I’m gonna save the rest because I want to put my daughters in a good school, I want them to be in a good environment. Everything I’m getting is going mostly towards my daughters to make sure they have a great, great life. Make sure we won’t have to struggle anymore.” The Hunters family still visit their favorite Waffle House, order their favorite meals, and chat with their newfound friend Devonte. An everlasting bond to cherish, especially after Kayzen extended the warmhearted gesture of friendship!