Every day, businesses in America are struggling to find and keep dedicated workers. So, after being loyal to the same company for nearly 30 years and never even missing a single day of work, you might expect to receive a little more than just a simple goodie bag. But not Kevin Ford, an HMS Host employee who has worked at Burger King in the Las Vegas McCarren International Airport for the last 27 years.
Ford’s story recently went viral when he decided to share a shoutout video expressing his sincere gratitude to a Burger King coworker who gave him an employee appreciation gift celebrating the milestone of his 27th year with the company. In the clip, Ford can be seen displaying the loot he got in the clear drawstring backpack that served as his goodie bag. Its contents: a few pens, a lanyard, a couple of keychains, a bag of Reese’s Pieces, two rolls of Life Savers, a single movie ticket, and a reusable Starbucks cup.
But despite Ford’s authentic intention to express gratitude with the video, viewers were appalled by the lackluster reward he received for 27 years of loyal service. However, the humble Burger King employee never expected such a response, admitting that he was truly grateful to receive anything. But he does admit that things used to be a lot different.
“I’m happy about anything. I’m grateful for anything I get. Believe me, I’ve been through a lot. So, I’m happy with what I got,” Ford shared, before continuing. “But, like most big corporations, they’ve kind of lost touch with their workers.”
Ford says that since COVID, HSM Host has cut out many of their long-standing employee appreciation programs—including one that offers loyal workers bonus checks for significant milestones, like 20 years or 30 years of service. That’s what the 54-year-old originally thought was in the envelope with the movie ticket; however, his hopes were quickly dashed. But instead of feeling sorry for himself, he admits that he mostly felt bad for his coworkers who had been there even longer than him and received absolutely nothing, not even a goodie bag.
But now, with over 2 million views on social media, his original clip has prompted an outpouring of love and support for Ford and his family—to the tune of more than $270,000. People have been touched by the man’s humble gratitude, which is what prompted such a strong reaction to the video. In response to the unexpected flood of kindness from complete strangers, Ford’s daughter Seryna decided to start a GoFundMe to give people a more tangible way to show their support for her father and raise funds to allow him to fly to Texas for a visit.
“The man in that video is my father,” Seryna shares on the GoFundMe page. “He has worked at his job for 27 years and yes, he has never missed a day of work. He originally began working at this job as a single father when he gained custody of me and my older sister 27 years ago…My dad continues to work here, because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age and leaving would cost him his retirement. In no way are we asking for money or is he expecting any money but if anyone feels like blessing him, he would love to visit his grandchildren.”
She initially started the fund with a goal of $200, enough to cover a plane ticket. But soon enough, they had met and exceeded that goal many times over. Even after raising the target again and again to accommodate people’s overwhelming generosity, the donations kept coming. And now, with more than $270,000 raised, the total just happens to average to around $10,000 for every year Ford has been on the job.
Although there were a few large donations—including a whopping $5,000 contribution from comedian David Spade—most people simply made small donations between $5 to $30. But with more than 8,000 donors, those small contributions really add up. Thanks to the overwhelming kindness and support from strangers, Ford was finally able to take a day off when he was invited onto the Today show to talk about his unbelievable experience. Then, the hosts surprised him with something even better than money. In fact, they had a few really special people waiting for Ford backstage: his daughter, Seryna, and his three grandchildren, Charlotte, Caroline, and Jovonne.
Ford was moved to tears by the unexpected reunion with his family, who he hadn’t seen for a number of years. He couldn’t hold back his gratitude for what everyone has done for him. “I just can't believe this. Thank you, thank you everybody,” he said, still a little choked up. “I just want to tell everybody out there, thank you for every cent. Just the thought of watching the video and just having a reason to smile…I just want to say thank you to everybody. It's just a dream come true. It's just a whirlwind of love. Spread the love, 'cause every day you need it.”
Suffice to say, the humble 54-year-old Burger King employee has been rewarded a thousand times over for his 27 years of dedicated hard work. Some rewards can be measured, but others are absolutely priceless.
This hardworking Burger King employee named Kevin Ford never missed a day of work for 27 years, and his job gave him a goodie bag.
@thekeep777 He's Worked for the Company for Almost 3 Decades and Has Never Called Out!!!😵💫🥺😱😭 #Grateful #Dads #FathersDay #Loyalty #Honor #WorkersUnite #Rewards #Thankful #NorrinRadd777 #theKeep777 ♬ Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos) – Calvin Harris