There are people out there who “look for opportunities” to call in sick for work—but not this teenager. He insisted to show up to work with a brace and sling after a car accident. When one customer asked him why, his reply left the man in amazement.
In December 2016, Cameron Nelson went to a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Avon, Indiana, where he was surprised to find employee Jakeem Tyler serve him in a brace and sling. “We sneeze too hard and decide to call in, but he’s working like nothing’s wrong,” Nelson wrote on his Facebook page.
“I had never seen anybody his age working in that type of condition,” Nelson told TODAY. “Normally we look for opportunities to go home from work any chance we get. So it surprised me. He very well could have been at home in bed resting.”
Nelson asked Tyler what happened and learned that the 18-year-old was involved in a car accident, but he worked because he needed the money. He also wanted to feed the homeless for Christmas.
“He did not want to let his team down by just calling in and not showing up but he also wanted to use the money for Christmas presents and to be able to feed the homeless with it as well,” Nelson told Fox 59.
To help Tyler, Nelson decided to create a GoFundMe page with a $2,500 goal. Within a few days, the amount raised far exceeded the goal. Later, that figure jumped up to $44,679, raised by 1,802 people.
The restaurant later issued a statement describing Tyler as a “phenomenal young man and an outstanding team member.”
“He is an inspiration both in terms of his work ethic and commitment to serving others,” Chris Tincher said in a statement. “Although he was in a car accident recently, he returned to work after being cleared by his doctor and with the support of his family so he could not only serve alongside his team in the restaurant, but also earn money to give back to others. We are beyond proud of Jakeem and support his efforts to serve the homeless in our community.”
Tyler’s dad, Tracy Tyler, said that his son was “awestruck” to learn of the attention his story received, and also the total amount of money raised.
“What’s important to remember is the homeless aren’t just hungry around the holidays,” he said. “This is an everyday occurrence for some people.”
Tyler is a generous and selfless young man who puts others before himself. What a great guy!