Red Announcement

News for nerds

As we all know, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry—and sometimes those of high school seniors do as well.

Timothy Harrison of Center Point, Alabama planned to attend his high school graduation. He’d even cleared it with his boss to take time off. But when the day of the ceremony dawned, Harrison found himself stranded.

The event was being held an hour away from home. With his family members working and no one able to drive him there, much to the surprise of his manager, Cedric Hampton, Harrison showed up for his regular 7 a.m. shift at the local Waffle House.

Once Hampton heard the details of Harrison’s dilemma—not only didn’t he have a way to get to the graduation, but he’d missed out on picking up his ticket, cap, and gown—the quick-thinking manager immediately marshaled his Waffle House troops for action.

“I could see in his eyes that he really wanted to go, and I was going to get him there no matter what,” Hampton told The Washington Post. “No kid should miss their high school graduation.”

After being ferried to school to retrieve his cap and gown, back at the Waffle House, the elated senior was outfitted in a brand-new ensemble picked up and paid for by his coworkers (with a little help from some generous restaurant patrons).

“We decided we were going to step in and take care of everything for him so he could really celebrate this day. A couple customers contributed as well,” Hampton told the Post. “Within a few hours, we were able to get everything taken care of.”

Harrison was now properly attired, but they still had to get him to the three o’clock ceremony on time. It was a close call, but thanks to Hampton, the soon-to-be graduate just made it. While his co-workers weren’t able to accompany the young man inside, they couldn’t have been prouder of him.

“When I sat down in that auditorium it was the best moment of my life,” Harrison told WBRC News. “This is a memory I will cherish forever… I’m going to tell my kids about this.”

Harrison, who’s only been at his job a little over a month, nonetheless now considers his Waffle House posse like kin and credits his “work-family” patriarch Hampton for stepping in, stepping up, and being willing to go the extra mile for him.

“The old saying goes it takes a village to raise a baby,” Hampton told WBRC. “I’m just happy to be a part of that village.”

Once word of the day’s events made the local news, Harrison’s village got a whole lot bigger. Since the WBRC story aired, he was offered a full scholarship at Birmingham’s Lawson State Community College.

It was only fitting that when Harrison recently toured the college campus, Hampton was by his side. “I am his full-time mentor,” Hampton told the Post. “I feel really good about what’s about to happen next for him, and I’ll always be there along the way.”

Life may not offer any guarantees, but at least Timothy Harrison knows that should his best-laid plans ever go awry again, he’s got a village in his corner to help him get things back on track—and it doesn’t get any better than that.