One good turn deserves another. A young waitress' act of kindness towards two weary firefighters recently has triggered a touching chain of events that went viral.
Mr Tim Young and Mr Paul Hullings, after spending the last 12 hours combating a blaze that broke out at a warehouse in North Brunswick, New Jersey, were looking to eat breakfast at the Rt. 130 Diner in Delran on the morning of July 23.
According to TODAY.com, the diner's waitress of seven years, Ms Liz Woodward, had been serving them and learnt of their efforts putting out the fire, having followed it on the news.
The 24-year-old paid for their bill out of her own pocket and wrote them a thank you note. "This was their first meal in over 24 hours; the least I could do was buy it for them for all they do every day," she told the website.
The firefighters were reportedly moved to tears by her heartfelt message, with Mr Young taking to his Facebook page to express his gratitude. His post, which contained a photo of Ms Woodward's note, was shared more than 3,500 times.
They then discovered that the waitress' father, Steve, was a quadriplegic, and she had been attempting to raise funds to buy him a wheelchair-accessible van via campaign website GoFundMe.
Mr Young's plea for help was covered by the American media and attracted scores of donors for the campaign - including an anonymous US$5,000 (S$6,860) donation - which has now raised nearly US$69,000. The campaign's original target had been US$17,000.
Mr Young and Mr Hullings have since met Ms Woodward's father, as both parties reflected on the amazing turn of events.
"We are not just firefighters," Mr Hullings said in an interview with television network WPVI. "We are also caring people, we want to be part of everybody's life."
To which Ms Woodward responded: "All I did was pay for their breakfast, and I didn't think anything would come about it except they would leave with a smile.
"The message is to be kind to each other, to pay it forward when you can, that even the smallest gestures can change somebody's life."