While we still have work to do in terms of making restaurants and public spaces more accessible for those who may have disabilities or are differently-abled, there are a handful of people out there already taking the initiative.
Joe Thomas, a waiter at an IHOP in Springfield, Illinois, has been doing the same routine for the past five years — according to BuzzFeed, after making the rounds and checking on his customers, he sits down with a couple called Dale and Ma, to help them eat breakfast.
Thomas told BuzzFeed that Ma has Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder that causes a breakdown of the body's nerves, which means that she struggles with utensils. While Dale used to feed his wife himself, he would do so before eating his own meal, letting his food go cold.
"One day I just said to him you eat your food, I got this," Thomas told BuzzFeed. "We've become good friends and I've grown attached to her. I'm just here to help."
During one of these weekend traditions, another customer saw what was happening and snapped a photo to post to Facebook, where it has gone viral.
Keshia Dotson, who witnessed Thomas helping Ma, sent the photo to the IHOP Facebook page on Saturday, writing, "Today while visiting your Springfield, IL location on Dirksen I witnessed a very touching moment involving one of your servers. A man and disabled women were dining and your server sat down with them and proceeded to help feed the disabled woman while her companion enjoyed his food."
"My faith in humanity has been restored a little today," she added. The photo has since received over 4,500 shares and 9,000 likes at the time of writing.
Thomas, however, was a bit flustered by the outpouring of attention the photo received, telling BuzzFeed that it's just who he is and how the restaurant works.
"It feels like home there," he said. "I'm going to do something to make you laugh before you leave, no matter what it is."
We still have a ways to go before restaurants and public places in general become fully accessible for everyone, but thanks to people like Thomas who go above and beyond, we're making a little more progress.