A fast-food worker who never missed a single day of work over a 27-year career has just been awarded a $270,000 bonus—all thanks to the kindness of strangers. Kevin Ford, 54, made a splash on social media last month when he shared a video of himself unwrapping the gift he'd received to honor his loyalty at HMSHost, a food service company that operates restaurants including Burger King at the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, where he's worked for nearly three decades. It wasn't much: a clear plastic bag containing a movie ticket, a tumbler cup, Reese’s Pieces, Life Savers, and a couple of pens.
Though Ford was grateful, his daughter Seryna thought he deserved more. She started a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $200 so that the single father who put four daughters through college could visit her and her three children, whom he hadn't seen in four years. "My dad gave me the world" and he "deserves the world," she told Today. Onlookers clearly agreed. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $270,000 for Ford, with one $5,000 donation coming from actor David Spade. "It's like a dream. … It's just overwhelming," the 54-year-old said Tuesday on the Today show, where he was reunited with his family.
"Such an amazing day! We all couldn't stop smiling!" Seryna later wrote on GoFundMe. Ford shed tears at the reunion. Asked about his work ethic, he was modest. "You got to feed these kids and put them through school," he said, per People. "I never even thought of missing a day." He now plans to fund his grandchildren's college education and donate money to his church. "I just want to tell everybody out there, thank you for every cent," he said. "It's just a dream come true and just a whirlwind of love." In a statement to Today, HMSHost described Ford as "a valued associate and member of an honored group of employees that have worked for us for many years." (Read more uplifting news stories.)