By Charlotte Smith
The Friday after Thanksgiving is famous for shoppers crossing off their holiday gift lists. This past year some local employees set the bar high for giving back.
Rondaveu Pizzaera and Ski Burger team members are thankful for the ability to provide great food and service to the White Lake area. According to one manager, who wanted to remain anonymous, the team members of both restaurants understand the support of their customers is critical to their businesses.
“They support us, and we want to support them,” he said.
Camp Clearwater residents are some of their most loyal customers. One teenage lady and her grandparents stood out to the workers. Isabella Ruth Rogers, an eighth-grade honor roll student raised by her Nannie and Papa (Kenny and Debby Byrd), is one of their loyal customers.
Irreversible brain damage at three months of age resulted in Rogers becoming quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. However, that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying life. According to Mrs. Bryd, Rogers loves to sing, play on her Ipad, and create characters. She has received many awards and is very determined.
Mrs. Byrd said, “You won’t find a happier, sweeter, and more kind person in the world. She has humbly faced adversity in her 14 years. She is a Shriner Child and is a patient at the Greenville Shriners Hospital.”
Rogers has been through numerous surgeries and had to be in a full-body cast for three months. Mrs. Bryd said, “She has never complained once during all of this. She thanks you for everything you do for her and always answers with ma’am and sir.”
The restaurants’ teams agreed that Rogers is an inspiration, and they wanted to help her somehow. They came up with a plan to purchase an All-Terrain Beach Wheelchair for Miss Rogers to enjoy the water at White Lake more independently.
Tim and Tammy Blount, owners of the restaurants, with their team members, gathered outside Rondaveu Pizzaera and Ski Burger on Friday, November 26, 2021, with Rogers and her family to give her a “Pre-Polar Plunge” gift.
Mr. Blount said, “Bella, you’re a special person, and we want to show you our heart and our love for you and your grandparents.” He also thanked the team members of the restaurants for thinking of the idea and collecting money for the wheelchair.
Rev. Rudy Ramphal, Pastor of Elizabethtown First Baptist Church, attended the event and offered a prayer. He said of the restaurant staff members, “We are thankful for their heart and their generosity.”
In closing, Mr. Blount and his team presented Miss Rogers with her new wheelchair. The family thanked those in attendance for the unique gift.
The anonymous manager thought it would be great if this thoughtful gesture sparked a whole month of people working together to make a difference in others’ lives. According to a recent study at Berkley, when we witness kindness, we are inspired to be kind ourselves. “When we see someone being kind or generous, it gives us a warm glow feeling inside.” The results suggest that our acts of kindness and generosity can have meaningful ripple effects in our communities online or offline.
This holiday season, may this local act of love inspire you.
View the live video now on Facebook linked below.