Timothy Harrison did not have his cap, gown, tickets for the ceremony, nor did he have a ride to the graduation. But his manager and co-workers stepped up to support him.
Graduating from high school is a special moment in a person's life. So when Timothy Harrison could not go to his graduation and almost missed this defining moment in his life, the people around him rallied to give him the support he needed. Harrison did not have his cap, gown, tickets for the ceremony, nor did he have a ride to take him to the commencement. Even though he had no intention of making it to the ceremony, his co-workers at Waffle House in Center Point, Alabama, did not relent and made sure the 18-year-old would be able to move his tassel from one side to the other.
Harrison took the job at Waffle House after all his high school courses and was has been working there for just about a month. He had approached his manager earlier and asked for a day off to attend his graduation. But on the day he showed up at work in his uniform. His boss, Cedric Hampton was surprised to see the young man and asked him what he was doing at work. “I don’t have any way to get across town to Crossplex for the ceremony," Harrison replied according to WVTM 13. "Besides, I wasn’t able to get tickets for my family because I was working and didn’t complete all of my senior activities.” He also added that he didn't want to miss work.
Hampton knew he could not let the promising young man miss his graduation and got to work to make it happen. The other employees at the store put things on hold to prepare Harrison for his graduation. The team went to a clothing store and bought dress clothes including slacks, a new shirt, and a tie, reported TODAY. Hampton asked Harrison to go home immediately to get the paperwork and call his school and find out what he had to do to get his cap and gown. Hampton called in the assistant manager who was on leave but decided to help him out as well. Even the customers at the store pitched in to help Harrison attend his graduation.
"When I put on the clothes, I don't even know the words,” Harrison said. "A million dollars? It was the best feeling." He got dressed inside the Waffle House and his co-worker Shantana Blevins agreed to give him a ride in her car. She drove him 20 miles to the Crossplex just in time for graduation. "To see his face when he came out, that was priceless," Blevins recalled after seeing Harrison in his cap and gown with his diploma in hand. Hampton shared this heartwarming story on his Facebook and wrote, "I would like to give a big shout out to my staff at the Waffle House in CenterPoint."
The post garnered a lot of attention and has been liked more than 6.5k times and shared more than 3k times. "I had people want to see me succeed, so it kind of made me excited," said Harrison. But the story does not end there. In fact, it is just the beginning for Harrison. After his story went viral, Lawson State Community College offered him a full scholarship, books included. His college starts this fall and now the whole world is at his feet. "I really didn't expect that to happen," said Harrison and added, "To know that I have a path to go somewhere? That's something new."
"Now he can go to college and figure out what do in his life and we're gonna help guide him," said Hampton, the generous manager who changed the teen's life in more than one way. Blevins noted that it is the small things that make a big difference and said, "You never know who you can touch or who you can influence with one simple gesture."