Acts of Kindness
Community comes together to help senior fast food worker who walks to job
Lisa Bateman walked to and from work for 7 years, regardless of the weather. Then one day her customers helped change her life.
Elijah Chan
11.22.21

Serve the community and the community will serve you back.

This is what Lisa Bateman learned when she found herself quietly struggling at work. It wasn’t her job per se, but how she got there.

Flickr - Willis Lam
Source:
Flickr - Willis Lam

Bateman has been working at a Burger King in Tappahannock. For the past seven years, the 60-year-old employee walks to the fast food place using her “little legs”.

Bateman is an institution in her community.

Jaki Vasquez, one of her regulars, explained that Bateman knows her order. She might be older, but her memory is still as sharp as a whip. When Bateman hears Vasquez on the other side of the speaker, she’ll always say “Do you want the usual?”

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

Jason Cunningham shared, meanwhile, that you don’t know if Bateman isn’t having a good day. That is because she always wears a smile on her face.

“You go through the drive-thru at any given time and she’s just as sweet,” he recalled to WTVR. It might not show but Bateman has gone through a lot.

Seven years before, she lost her job at Sheetz.

But instead of giving up, Bateman decided to take on new jobs that could help her make ends meet. It was also the time she lost her car. Since then, even with her old age, she relies on her legs to take her where she needs to go. Heat, cold, rain, or snow cannot stop her.

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

“I just look at it this way, just like I told my manager, as long as my little legs can take me, I’m going to do it,” Bateman said to the local news outlet. “I’m going to work.”

It was then that Cunningham saw her walking.

“I see her walking all the time and I figured it would be nice to do something like this for someone in our community,” Cunningham stated to the local news outlet.

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

A car, even if it was used, would be a boon for the senior worker. Having reliable transportation would make it safer for her to go through the snow. It could even save her from injuries, as walking long distances can be a risk for people her age.

They asked for help through a Facebook post.

Cunningham logged into the social networking site and into a page called “What’s going on in Tappahannock”. What started as a post swiftly turned into a community-backed fundraiser for Bateman.

Pixabay - geralt
Source:
Pixabay - geralt

The goal was simple, get the kind woman a car so she could go to and from work safely. When the post got enough traction, they set up a GoFundMe account.

They raised $4,200 for Bateman.

Cunningham then traveled to Fredericksburg where he picked up a used 2007 Buick. It might be an old car, but it was more than enough for people who banded together to look after a member of their community.

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

Cunningham, together with other members of the community waited until Lisa’s shift ended at 2 PM.

Bateman cried when they presented her their “gift”.

They handed her the keys to her new car which made Bateman bury her face in her hands. She thanked the people profusely, seemingly confused as to how she deserved this treat from the community.

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

“We as a town of Tappahannock wanted to show you a little bit of appreciation for your hard work, for always giving us positive energy,” Vazquez told Bateman.

YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - WTVR CBS 6

In under two weeks, a community managed to rally resources to give it someone who needed it the most. And even if they’re a small town, that doesn’t mean they’re not up for grand gestures.

Watch the video below to see Lisa’s reaction to the generous gift!

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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