Ripples of Goodness Learn Laugh Love Live Life LRN LAF LUV LIV LYF

Ripples of Goodness in Action

Looking for an example of what a simple act of goodness can do? Here is a wonderful example of kindness begetting kindness, of goodness that ripples out and generates more good vibrations and inspires others to perform their own acts of kindness.

The Pebble of Goodness

The catalyst deed of goodness in this example came from Joe Thomas, a waiter who has worked at an IHOP restaurant in Springfield, Illinois, USA, for over a decade. For years now, a woman and her husband have gone to the IHOP every weekend to be served by Joe. And every weekend Joe has sat down at their table to help feed the woman who, due to Huntington's Disease, is unable to feed herself.

Joe Thomas. Photo by WAND-TV NBC News.

Listen to Joe on why he does it. "I always see (the husband) stop eating to feed her and I was like, well, if I am doing nothing, why not just go ahead and feed her so he can eat and everyone can be happy."

A waiter not only serving food, but serving others in the true sense of the word.

"My parents always taught me to treat people as equals and that's what I try to do all the time," he adds.

In the Philosophy for LYF lingo, Joe was performing the caring and nurturing of LUV in LRN LAF LUV LIV and expressing its related core value of respectfulness, which is a pre-requisite for fully performing the LUV deed of goodness. Through his actions Joe was giving true worth to others, one part of our two-fold mission in life: to grow true wealth and give true worth.

That in itself is a cause for celebration. A person helping other people through goodness.

The Ripple — Nurturing others

Joe's act of kindness and his respectfulness toward others helped not only the woman he was feeding, it also helped her husband so he could eat and take a rest as caregiver. Joe's act helped two people directly.

Although this posting is about how one person's actions can ripple out and can positively affect others, I would also like to call attention to the goodness expressed daily by the husband in loving and caring for his wife. The husband creates his own positive ripples of goodness.

Another Ripple — Uplifting others

Another customer at the restaurant, observing such an act of kindness, was so moved by Joe's actions that she posted a message on Facebook directed to IHOP management: "A man and disabled woman 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." Joe's deed of goodness positively impacted others beyond the direct recipients. His act of kindness to his customers led another customer to be uplifted and perform an act of kindness to help Joe be recognized for his goodness.

Word got around from the posting, and news reports like the one below brought Joe national attention.  It is worth watching.


His co-workers agree.  "I think (his recognition) should have happened a long time ago. Ever since I started working here, every weekend that couple comes in and he feeds her every single weekend," one co-worker said.

As Joe says of the attention he has received, "It really felt good for someone to actually see that another person is doing something and taking notice. It felt good, but at the same time, I really don't care for the recognition too much because it is just something that should automatically be done regardless. I'm out there to help just about anybody if I can. Not looking for anything in return, just have a good day. That's it."

Words of wisdom from a man whose kindness was multiplied many times.

Further Ripples — Inspiring Us

Comments in Facebook show that Joe's actions were inspiring to many people.

Others wrote:

"The world needs more people with true character and compassion like this man. Thank you for making me smile today, and I hope you go on to restore faith in humanity one kind deed at a time."

"That's what we are supposed to do for each other God Bless now let's all pay it forward everyone everyday"

"What a wonderful gesture. If each one of us did something nice to another human being every day that we go out in public think what a great place the world would be. I certainly look for opportunities to do just that."

Joe says his compassion was something he was raised to practice. As he told one reporter, "I just love helping people. I do it all the time. This is nothing's just me."

And it is true. A grandmother posted a photo showing Joe feeding her grandbaby at the IHOP.


Joe Thomas IHOP Feeding Baby Learn Laugh Love Live Life LRN LAF LUV LIV
Photo by Kendra Spallinger on Facebook.

This is what LRN LAF LUV LIV for LYF is all about. Deeds of goodness done outward toward others are not one-offs, but habits performed everyday. For life. For a better life. For yourself and others.

Be inspired by Joe. And go ripple goodness.

You can watch other videos of this story here.

You can check out the original posting by the customer on Facebook here.


  1. […] This website contains real-life examples of simple acts of goodness that ripple goodness to and through others. Here is just one example. […]

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