Liz Woodward - A Tale of Kindness Returned #AtoZChallenge - Godyears

Liz Woodward - A Tale of Kindness Returned #AtoZChallenge

April 13, 2018

Firefighters Tim Young and Paul Hullings were exhausted when they stepped into the 130 Diner in Delran for breakfast at 6 am. They had been fighting a horrible fire for a mammoth 12 hours. When the time came to pay the bill though, they were in for a surprise.

The young waitress who had served them had overheard their conversations and chose to pay their bill for them, leaving a sweet message on their check instead - “Your breakfast is on me today – Thank you for all that you do; for serving others and running into the places everyone runs away from. No matter what your role, you are courageous, brave and strong. Thank you for being bold and badass everyday.”


When waitress Liz Woodward realized the customers at her table were two firefighters who had just fought a horrible fire for 12 hours, she paid their bill herself as a sign of gratitude. When the firefighters later found out that Liz had done this deed while struggling financially and looking after her paraplegic father, they campaigned online to earn money for a wheelchair accessible van for her. The campaign raised eight times the amount and best of all, the company manufacturing the vans did not take any money, gifting the vehicle to Liz's father as a Christmas gift for her kindness.
The food bill that went viral


Touched, the two firefighters shared her kind deed on social media where it quickly went viral. And that was when they found out the true story of the beautiful waitress who had paid for them.

24 year old Liz Woodward had been struggling to make ends meet for the last few years after her father suffered a brain aneurysm that left him paraplegic. Having struggled to make her house wheelchair-ready for her father, she was devastated when it was foreclosed and they had to move into a smaller accommodation, leaving her father unable to travel outside at all and unable to see beyond his bedroom window.

Determined to help the woman who had showed such kindness to them even though she was suffering, Tim and Paul set up a fundraising campaign to get $10,000 (Rs 6.5 lakhs) for a wheelchair accessible van for her father. The donations however did not stop pouring in and when the campaign finally ended, the firefighters had raised $86,500 (Rs 56 lakhs) for Liz and her father.

When waitress Liz Woodward realized the customers at her table were two firefighters who had just fought a horrible fire for 12 hours, she paid their bill herself as a sign of gratitude. When the firefighters later found out that Liz had done this deed while struggling financially and looking after her paraplegic father, they campaigned online to earn money for a wheelchair accessible van for her. The campaign raised eight times the amount and best of all, the company manufacturing the vans did not take any money, gifting the vehicle to Liz's father as a Christmas gift for her kindness.
Firefighters Tim Young and Paul Hullings with Liz Woodward and her family


The best was yet to come. Having heard of her kind deed, Mobility Ventures - the company that made these specialized vans - refused to take the money and gave the Woodward family the van for free as a Christmas gift.

Liz's life was changed forever over the course of that year. And it all started with a single act of kindness towards two strangers who walked into  her diner early one morning.


Liz Woodward, Tim Young and Paul Hullings would also appear on Ellen where all 3 would get surprise gifts.

When waitress Liz Woodward realized the customers at her table were two firefighters who had just fought a horrible fire for 12 hours, she paid their bill herself as a sign of gratitude. When the firefighters later found out that Liz had done this deed while struggling financially and looking after her paraplegic father, they campaigned online to earn money for a wheelchair accessible van for her. The campaign raised eight times the amount and best of all, the company manufacturing the vans did not take any money, gifting the vehicle to Liz's father as a Christmas gift for her kindness.

Author's note:

This is part of my #AtoZChallenge where I will be focusing on Real Life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion.
The list for this year's (2018) Heroes of Kindness can be found here.
Of course, I have been tracking these lovely human beings for years now and have found children as young as six years old and old women in their eighties from across the world who will restore your faith in humanity. You can find the entire list of Real-life Heroes of Kindness and Compassion here.




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24 comments

  1. What a heartwarming story. It restores our faith in the human spirit.

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  2. The one's in need of help and kindness are the ones to show kindness first... That's such a common thread in these stories. And it's incredible...
    Amazing.. the power of a simple deed of kindness

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    1. Yes, that is something we always find. Those who know suffering are more prone to be selfless and kind themselves

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  3. Absolutely love your theme So sorely needed in today's cynical times. Bravo!

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    1. Thanks Anurag :) I am just the bearer of the events. Have to love these heroes

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  4. Place everybody runs away from!!!
    She respected the courage and selflessness of the ones who are generally forgotten during such incidences, irrespective of the financial and emotional struggle she was going through. Wish people were like her, this world would have been so much better place to live.

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    1. Hopefully by showcasing her story, more people in other parts of the world too will be inspired to be kind

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  5. I needed this story in my life today, Roshan. Thankyou for sharing it and thanks to people like Liz and everyone else who helped her out for restoring some of my faith in humanity.

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    1. That is the whole point of this series... to be light in darkness. To restore faith in humanity and show that real heroes exist

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  6. Aha! The ripple effect of one small act of kindness! So awe-inspiring and heart-warming!

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  7. Awwwww, isn't she sweet? So heart-warming to read this.

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    1. It is a story that makes one smile happily :)

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  8. This is super amazing! Reading your posts everyday makes me feel so good :)
    Kohl Eyed Me
    Something's Cooking

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  9. Doing One good deed turns into another coming your way! Thats what I think this story tells us and its a true story! I think God hides these opporutnities and whoever finds it, gets rewarded for acting on it! Awesome one Doc!!

    L is for Laini Taylor #atozchallenge

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    1. That is a unique way of thinking of it. I had not considered it like that... time to start searching for my own!! :)

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  10. Very sweet. Good to know about such good deeds through your stories.

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  11. Tats another heartwarming story of love ,kindness and compassion by 2 individuals actually. The firefighters and waitress..1 act of kindness can multiply hundred folds😍..

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  12. Oh dear! I just came across your blog and look at what a touching read this one was! Thank you for posting this beautiful story! :)

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