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Home Eat Arkansas Little Rock 8-year-old who raised $30,000 for his favorite Waffle House waiter...

Little Rock 8-year-old who raised $30,000 for his favorite Waffle House waiter featured in the Washington Post

Devonte Gardner (left) with Kayzen Hunter. Vittoria Hunter

The Washington Post picked up a story aired by THV-11 in February about local 8-year-old Kayzen Hunter, who started a GoFundMe to raise money for his favorite Waffle House waiter, Devonte Gardner, after finding out he was struggling financially.

Kayzen’s mother, Vittoria Hunter, told the Post that their family has a weekend Waffle House breakfast tradition, and Kayzen always gets a high five from Gardner when he walks in the door.

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“Devonte always treats everyone with kindness, and he always knows exactly what I want: hash browns with cheese and eggs with cheese,” said Kayzen, who is in second grade.

During a visit to Waffle House with his grandfather a few months ago, Kayzen learned that Gardner was looking for a cheap car, and that in the past year, he’d moved his wife and two young daughters into a motel after their apartment had been infested with rats and contaminated with black mold.

Kayzen told his mother he wanted to start a GoFundMe for Gardner, and she helped him set one up with a $5,000 goal. The Post reports that donations flooded in after THV-11 aired the story, and the fund grew to $30,000 — enough for a car and to pay for an apartment for Gardner’s family for the next year, Hunter said.

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Gardner, 29, said he was stunned when he learned what his young customer had done.

“I started crying — I’d been quietly struggling and didn’t want to ask anybody for anything,” he said, explaining that he uses most of his tips to pay his family’s $60 per day motel bill.

Kayzen said he was surprised and excited that so many people wanted to help his Waffle House friend.

“Devonte is a positive person who works hard to make everyone happy,” Kayzen said. “Sometimes people just need a little help.”

Gardner said he plans to move his family into a one-bedroom apartment later this month and go shopping for a car, thanks to the generosity of Kayzen and the Little Rock community.

The Washington Post story was published March 2, and the GoFundMe fund is now up to more than $100,000.

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