This is the Waffle House waitress whose act of kindness landed her a $16K scholarship

LA MARQUE, Texas – A teenager who took the time to help a man in need was honored on Thursday for her act of kindness at the La Marque Waffle House where she works.

Evoni Williams, 18, of Galveston, has her sights now set on Texas Southern University after the school awarded her $16,000. 

The city of La Marque also proclaimed March 8, 2018, Evoni “Nini" Williams Day in the city after seeing her act of kindness that went viral on Facebook this week. 

Earlier this week, Waffle House customer Laura Wolf snapped a photo of Williams cutting up food for a partially disabled man during a busy shift at the restaurant. 

The photo went viral, with 97,000 reactions and nearly 46,000 shares. 

Williams couldn't stop the tears as Texas Southern University handed her an oversized check for $16,000. 

A representative for the university said, “Your act of kindness is exactly the kind of student we want at Texas Southern University. “ 

The scholarship can be used in $4,000 increments per semester.

 “That’s just me," Williams said of the photo. "It came from the heart. I would do it any other time, not just this time.”

She added, “All I know is we were busy. And all he asked was, ‘I don’t have functioning in my hands, can you cut (my ham) for me? It would be easier for me.’ I was like, sure, I stopped. I had food on the board to pick up. They were calling my name. I stepped away, came back and finished.”

Adrien, the 78-year-old man who Williams helped, was on-hand at the Waffle House counter to see Williams receive the scholarship. 

He explained to reporters that he’d been in the hospital two days before the photo was taken and his hands weren’t working well. 

“I thanked her very much for it,” he said. 

He added with a laugh, “Nobody knows me. All they see is my suspenders.”

But now they do – Adrien and Williams are hometown celebrities. 

“I didn’t think it was going to go big,” Williams said of the viral post. “But I thank you all. It’s just something I would do any other day.”

However, as the event ended, a reporter asked Williams, “Do you have to work today?”

“Yes,” Williams said looking at the clock. “2 p.m.”

Williams went to work, but her life -- and the lives of those she helped -- are forever changed through her small act of kindness.

Wolf, who snapped the photo, said, “It’s small to us, but huge to him. I’m glad, I’m glad for her. I’m excited. It changed my thinking for the day because there’s so much negative around us.“

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.