A Las Vegas restaurant worker, who never missed a day of work in 27 years and made a video showing the less than desirable gift bag he received from his co-workers on his work anniversary, is a blessed man. After receiving national attention, his daughter created a crowdfunding campaign and those who fell in love with the man’s humility and hard work have raised over a quarter-million dollars.
Kevin Ford is a picture of blue-collar America, getting up every day for nearly three decades with his mind set on making an honest wage and providing a better life for his children and now grandchildren.
In 1995, as a single father, he started working for HMSHost, a food service company, at the company’s Harry Reid International Airport in the bustling Nevada city. On this job, paying hourly wages but offering excellent health benefits, he was able to put his four children through college and establish a meager retirement pension fund.
On the 27th anniversary of his employment with the company, he received a plastic drawstring bag filled with one movie ticket, a large bag of Reese’s Pieces candy, a Starbucks plastic cup and straw, a lanyard, two ink pens, a couple of key chains and two rolls of Lifesavers candy.
Ford made a video thanking his co-workers and employer for the gift but couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by not receiving something more substantial, like money or a new car, like other colleagues in his union, he would say in a later interview with TMZ.
The video went viral and many people shared words of kindness and support for the man’s journey — and major press outlets took note, further amplifying the cashier/ cook’s story.
The 54-year-old’s daughter Seryna started a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes that those supporters could bless her dad with some extra money so her dad could connect with family, namely his grandchildren he hadn’t seen in over four years. And within two weeks, the campaign raised over $359K.
The original goal was $200, but those who contributed (including former SNL cast member and actor David Spade who dropped $5K) blew that number out of the water a few days after the campaign went public.
Seryna wrote, “Y’all shattered the original goal so I increased it! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much.”
Supporters have encouraged her to not shut it down and to “increase the goal,” she wrote on the page.
On Tuesday, June 28, on the “Today” show, one of the outlets that have given a spotlight to Ford and his outstanding work ethic and character, the man talked about the outpouring of support from strangers.
The news program flew him to New York, putting him up in a hotel, and prepped him for a live in-studio interview. He sat with Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin and spoke about the recent events, saying it was “awesome,” but “overwhelming.”
He said, “It’s like a dream come true. It’s overwhelming, especially the support I’m receiving every day. It’s awesome.”
During his interview, he shared how appreciative he was to receive donations from other countries like the United Kingdom and Australia.
“I’m grateful for everything, for every day I wake up, that I can go to work, that I could be a good citizen, be a good American, and just do my part,” Ford remarked.
Little did he know he was about to be overwhelmed again.
The staff of the show arranged, unbeknownst to him, for his daughter Seryna and her three children to see their patriarch. Tearfully he reached for his grandchildren, saying it’s been four years since he touched his babies.
His daughter, as she sat next to her father said it is “a lot to take in,” as her dad grinned crazily at the children, and joked that his grandson, Javon, was bigger than he is.
“It means a lot to us,” Seryna said about the attention her dad has received over the last few weeks. “My dad deserves the world …My dad gave me the world and he made me the person that I am.”
When the grandson was asked what lessons he learned from Ford, he said, “Don’t be greedy.”
After the public reunion, the family took to the Big Apple for a day of fun and fellowship.
He has since returned to Las Vegas, presumably to the same job he has worked for 27 years. Since the news broke, job offers have come across his table, but he has turned them down.
It is this level of loyalty and love that has the world pouring in and changing his life right before everyone’s eyes.