A Burger King employee who marked his 27th work anniversary is going viral after sharing the underwhelming “gift” he received for the milestone.
Kevin Ford, 54, has worked as a cook and cashier at the Burger King in the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport for nearly three decades. He was a remarkably diligent employee who never took a day off work.
HMS Host, the company from which the fast-food chain hires, showed their appreciation for Kevin’s service by rewarding him with a goodie bag filled with assorted items.
The clear, plastic backpack contained a single movie ticket, a bag of Reese’s Pieces, two rolls of Lifesavers, and a Starbucks reusable tumbler.
Kevin created a TikTok showing off the contents of the bag. Although he was appreciative of the gift, his post was flooded with comments expressing disappointment for the company.
Many users felt that the reward didn’t measure up to the employee’s hard work over the last three decades.
“You deserve so much more for your dedication to the company. Hoping this post brings you something special & deserving of you.”
“Being so grateful for receiving so little for 27 years of hard work. Blessing are coming your way!”
After reading through the comments, Kevin’s daughter, Seryna Ford, set up a GoFundMe for her dad.
Seryna mentioned that her father originally began working at Burger King as a single father when he gained custody of her and her older sister 27 years ago.
As their family grew and Kevin remarried, he continued to work at the eatery because of the health insurance provided through his employer, which got all four of his children through high school and college with full healthcare coverage.
“My dad continues to work here, because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age and leaving would cost him his retirement,” Seryna wrote on the fundraiser page.
“In no way are we asking for money or is he expecting any money but if anyone feels like blessing him he would love to visit his grandchildren.”
The GoFundMe goal has already been exceeded a few times, so Seryna increased it to $250,000. The drive has raised nearly $380,000 at the time of writing, and it’s still climbing.
Among the top donors was David Spade, who gave a whopping $5,000. The comedian also reached out to Kevin on Instagram to congratulate him on the milestone.
“Keep up the good work. 27 years,” wrote the Saturday Night Live alum.
In a phone call with TODAY, Kevin opened up about how thankful he was for the support he had been receiving from kind strangers all over the internet.
“I’ve been crying for about two days now. It’s just incredible,” he said. “I just go to work and try to have fun and laugh and make other people’s day good. It’s like I’ve been in a dream for almost two days now. It’s just so beautiful and awesome. It really is.”
Burger King issued a statement to People magazine regarding the matter:
“Following review with this location’s franchisee, we’ve learned that this video depicts a Team Member in receipt of a peer-to-peer reward in recognition of a short-term positive performance/experience. The franchisee offers its Team Members a robust employee recognition program, which includes the recognition of tenure milestones and monetary awards.”
HMS Host also released a statement regarding the matter:
“The goodie bag Mr. Ford received was something we call a Shout Out, which is recognition and appreciation from his peers,” a company spokesperson told TODAY.
“HMSHost is pleased that its award-winning ‘Shout Out’ employee recognition program was used to celebrate one of our long-tenured and dedicated associates, Kevin Ford, for his teamwork and great attitude.”
The party also mentioned that the “Shout Out” program is different from HMS Host’s company service anniversary program, which celebrates employee tenure milestones.
“This recognition of Mr. Ford by another employee captures the essence of our culture of appreciation, caring and inclusion and reflects the best of our company — our people,” they added.
“Mr. Ford is a valued associate and member of an honored group of employees that have worked for us for many years.”
As for what he plans to do with the money, Kevin said he hasn’t thought about it yet, but he’s looking forward to paying off bills and visiting his daughter Seryna and his grandkids, two girls aged six and eight.
Kevin is also grateful to her daughter, who started it all.
“I can’t repay her, you know? Because she is why I do everything — her and my other daughters and now my grandkids,” he said. “I really can’t put into words how much I love my family.”
Congratulations, Kevin. This is such a well-deserved blessing!
Click on the video below from NewsNation to learn more about his story.