A video of a Burger King employee who hadn’t missed work in 27 years went viral last year when many social media users argued that he deserved more than the simple goody bag the fast food chain gave him for serving for over two decades. Over the past year, donations have poured in and now exceed $400,000.
Kevin Ford, a cook and cashier at the fast food giant, was seen in the video posted in June of 2022 holding a plastic drawstring bag of gifts from his company, which included a movie ticket, candy, pens, keychains, a Starbucks cup, and a few other small items.
Ford, who said he believes in appreciating small gestures in life, showed off the goody bag on TikTok and his gratitude for receiving it. “I was happy to get this because I know not everyone gets something,” said Ford, who works at the Burger King at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.
While many people on social media praised Ford’s work ethic and positive attitude, others were upset and felt that the father of four deserved more than a bag of treats for his decades of dedication.
That led one of his daughters, Seryna, to start a GoFundMe campaign last June to raise some money for her father to visit his grandchildren in Texas.
She set the initial goal of $200, but after just a few days, she had to continuously update the goal due to the outpouring of support for her dad. Over the next year, the donations continued to roll in, and people flooded Ford’s inbox with messages of how he reminded them of someone in their own family.
“I think people wanted to be a part of something beautiful for once, and this is beautiful. It’s a miracle,” Ford told PEOPLE as to why he thinks his story resonated with so many.
Seryna says she “think[s] it was that everyone else saw their dad or their husband or themselves or their mom – the person that provides – and they saw themselves in him.”
In the year since the fundraiser began, it has raised over $420,000 from over 14,000 donors.
According to his daughter, the money raised will be used as a contribution to the Burger King employee’s retirement. “My dad continues to work there because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age, and leaving would cost him his retirement.”