Cafe's kind gesture touches grieving parents

FORT WORTH — Sometimes, it's the small, daily life events and kindness of strangers that can truly bring us comfort and touch our hearts.

Debbie Davis Riddle says she's a regular at the West Side Cafe off Camp Bowie West Boulevard in Fort Worth. In a post on her Facebook page, Riddle said she brought her newborn baby, Glory, with her on one of their family visits in May.

"Well, we just went there [Thursday] afternoon and our waitress Kayla remembered us and asked where our baby was," she wrote. "Sadly, we had to tell her baby Glory passed away and is with God now. She felt so horrible for asking, but she was so sweet."

When it was time to pay their bill, Riddle said they were handed a note written on a guest check instead.

"Your ticket has been paid for," it read. "We are terribly sorry for you loss. God Bless. - The West Side."

Riddle said the waitress refused a tip, saying it was taken care of as well.

"We hear so much negativity on the news and so that is why I felt led to share this story in hopes that Kayla and this restaurant will get some good recognition," Riddle wrote.

In less than 24 hours, her post had been liked by more than 5,000 Facebook users, shared more than 3,700 times and spurred 480 responses.

"We are just so overwhelmed by all of the support we have received," Riddle told WFAA. "I have so much more I could add but can't find the words to truly express what a profound impact this 'random act of kindness' has had on our family, Kayla's family and hundreds if not thousands more people worldwide. Loss is an unexplainable tragedy, but this is proof that one person can make a difference."

Kayla Lane said she in turn was touched by the Shaun and Debbie Riddle.

"I did pay for their meal," Lane wrote on Facebook. "I didn't want any recognition ... I just simply wanted the satisfaction of being a helping hand in a time of deep sorrow for this family. However, what I didn't expect is how much of a blessing their family would be to me. Their faith was apparent and it inspired me so much."

Among those who responded to Riddle's post were others personally touched by the kindness of West Side Cafe's owners and staff.

"I'm so sorry for your loss," wrote Cassy Tatarian Kavanaugh. "My bill was also paid for by the owner at West Side Cafe once. I was a really young mother and my baby was crying so I took him to the waiting area so that we didn't disturb anyone else. I guess the owner noticed that I didn't get to enjoy my meal and paid for our entire table. Love that place!"

Such posts proved the West Side Cafe's act of kindness wasn't random or rare. It apparently is common place at this neighborhood cafe.

In response, the West Side Cafe also made a post:

We at the West Side Cafe are all heartbroken by the loss suffered recently by the Riddle family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them to find the strength to overcome this as best as possible.

We all feel honored to be a daily part of such a great community. For the bond we share with our guests is stronger than anywhere I have experienced in my almost 40 years in the restaurant business.

Kayla's uncommon act of kindness is a common virtue shared by so many of our great co-workers. But this is just a reflection of the warm and loving appreciation which we receive from so many of our great guests.

I just hope this event can help the Riddles move upward on their journey out of darkness.

Thank you all for your comments and support, for this has touched us all very deeply.

Tracey Sanford


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