Any parent will tell you that as soon as you gaze into the eyes of your newborn child, you’re immediately overwhelmed with indescribable love. The experience of raising a child is life-changing, but that experience, of course, doesn’t come without potential problems.Debbie and Shaun Riddle of Fort Worth, Texas, frequented a diner where they knew many of the patrons and workers; they always had their infant daughter Glory with them, too. But on one particular day, just the two of them showed up, and when the waitress inquired about their absent daughter, the parents’ response left her profoundly changed…
Debbie and Shaun Riddle were a happily married couple who lived in Fort Worth, Texas. They loved where they lived, and in early 2015, they had every reason in the world to love life even more…
They both became parents to a gorgeous little girl they named Glory Alice Riddle. Their bright-eyed bundle of joy always accompanied them to one of their favorite spots to eat in Fort Worth — a place that made them feel like they were part of the family.
It was a diner called the West Side Cafe. In a town like Fort Worth, places like the West Side Cafe were always full of locals who knew each other. It was a great location to bring visiting family and friends, and the food always reminded Debbie and Shaun of home cooking.
Besides the food and other patrons, the couple loved how friendly the waitstaff was to every guest. It was a bustling place almost all the time, but the employees always took the time to chat. Shaun and Debbie had one particular waitress who they grew close to…
Her name was Kayla Lane, and she was one of the most popular employees at the West Side Cafe. She always remembered faces and details about her customers’ lives, and for the last few months, she would always see Debbie and Shaun come into the diner with Glory.
Over the years, Debbie and Shaun had gotten to know Kayla well, and she would always jump at the chance to wait on them when they came in. Debbie and Shaun were two of the most cheerful people, but one morning, their demeanors were different.
Debbie and Shaun both came to eat, but Glory wasn’t with them. The couple was far from their cheerful outgoing selves, as well. Kayla approached them and started chatting, and her heart immediately sank…
When she asked about Glory, Debbie and Shaun hesitated for a moment and then told Kayla that Glory had passed away just a few weeks earlier. She fell victim to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and doctors had no idea why.
Kayla was heartbroken for the couple. But, she also felt mortified that she brought up such a painful event. She couldn’t have known, of course, but the fact the couple needed to relive the memory right there in the diner upset Kayla to no end.
Kayla herself didn’t have any children, but she was an aunt to a precious little boy, and she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have a young child suddenly stripped away. So, she decided to do something special for the couple.
When Debbie and Shaun were finished eating, instead of dropping the usual check on their table, Kayla dropped a slip of paper with a message of blessing. Kayla herself even paid the couple’s bill out of her own pocket. Debbie and Shaun were touched by the act of generosity.
The couple, even though still distraught by the loss of their daughter, managed to smile at the kindness Kayla and the rest of the diner employees offered. They even wanted to pay Kayla’s act of kindness forward. But how?
After chatting with the manager, Debbie and Shaun discovered Kayla was working at the cafe to help fund her way through school so that she could eventually become a teacher. This gave Debbie an idea…
Her inspiration came from one of the onesies that Glory used to wear. It read: “Kisses 25 cents – I’m saving for my college fund…” Debbie knew Kayla was far from the only young employee at the cafe trying to make it through college, and expenses for school were often extreme. So, she started something to help…
It was a scholarship program in memory of little Glory! Debbie and Shaun figured this would be a perfect way to return the kind favor Kayla did for them. Also, it wouldn’t only help Kayla, but other students, as well.
The fund would also mean the memory of Glory would live on outside of the Riddle household, which was more than either parent could have ever asked for. She was a special girl who left the world far too soon, but now people would always think of her when they ate at the West Side Cafe.
Kayla’s selfless act of paying for the check was in no way done to receive some kind of reciprocity, so she was floored when the Riddles came back with such a generous offer. She said she was “eternally grateful” for the entire experience.
While the memory of Glory will live on for years to come through Debbie, Shaun, and the scholarship fund, the parents also want mother and fathers to be made aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It can happen to anyone, so the more people know, the safer their young ones can stay.
As tragic as it was for Kayla to find out Glory had passed away, the events that followed afterward were somewhat like a blessing in disguise. Kayla truly had a great heart, and she just wanted to try to alleviate whatever stress she could in the lives of a grieving couple.
People enter and leave our lives for specific reasons, and Debbie and Shaun didn’t realize how special of a person Kayla would become to them until after Glory passed. Check out the video below to see more on how Glory lives on in the minds and hearts of so many Fort Worth residents.