NJ firefighters pay it forward after waitress pays their tab

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Thursday, July 23, 2015
VIDEO: NJ firefighters pay it forward after waitress pays their tab
A waitress at a local diner paid it forward to two firefighters and they returned the favor.

DELRAN, N.J. (WPVI) -- A Burlington County firefighter was one of the first local responders called as part of the massive response after a fire broke out in a North Brunswick, New Jersey warehouse Wednesday morning.

After a long and harrowing 12 hour shift, his fellow firefighter took him out for breakfast at the Route 130 diner in Delran.

The waitress, Liz Woodard, overheard the details of his day, and to reward him for his bravery, she paid it forward and picked up their tab to thank them for all they do.

"When it came time for the bill, we flipped it over and she decided to comp it on her own," said Tim Young, Mt. Holly Fire Department.

"I started tearing up and it made me feel good - us firefighters are wanted, people care about us," said Paul Hullings, Hainesport Fire Department.

She wrote a sweet note on their bill which read: "Your breakfast is on me today. Thank you all that you do, for serving us and for running into the places everyone runs away from. No matter your role, you are corageous, brave and strong. Thank you for being bold everyday. Fueled by fire and driven by courage - what an example you are. Get some rest!"

Young posted the note on Facebook and it spread like wildfire. So many people were touched by Woodward's gesture.

"I know it's been remarked as this extraordinary act. It's small. It's a little gesture," said Woodard.

A $15 gesture that was even more humbling for the firefighters after they learned that Mt. Laurel woman has been trying to raise money on a a GoFundMe page to buy a wheelchair accessible van for her father Steve. He was paralyzed by a brain aneurysm five years ago.

"He needs access to the outside world. He needs to see the world outside his hospital bed," said Woodard.

Even though she's raised $30,000 so far, the van that her father needs may cost up to $80,000.

Now Hullings and Young want to pay it forward.

"If we have to do a fundraiser. We'll do whatever we can to help," said Hullings.

"I don't even know what to say to that. That's incredible - what a way to wake up today. I had no idea today was going to go like this," said Woodard.

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