Most people wouldn’t consider working at a fast-food restaurant “groundbreaking,” but that’s because most people aren’t 70-year-old Taco Bell Joe.
Taco Bell Joe, also known as Joe DeCicco, hails from Daytona, Florida, where he’s worked at a local Taco Bell for nearly two decades. And in that time, he’s made a difference.
He’s bright, he’s chatty, he’s personable — and he was just shown gratitude in the form of an unexpected cash prize because he has customers who love him so much.
The original plan was to award the winner with $50, but then the members decided that wasn’t enough for someone as priceless as Joe.
Video of the reveal posted last weekend shows Phillippi presenting Joe, who is reeling in shock and awe, with a giant check listed at over $6,000.
“I’m a little speechless right now too, but the original prize was a $50 cash prize,” Phillippi said in the video.
“And after I saw all the comments that were coming through about the kindness — the kindness that you have been giving people for more than 20 years, making all of us your friend and giving us exceptional service, on the behalf of the foodie review page and all of your friends here within your community, I’m so proud to present you with a cash prize of $6,095.
“Thank you for your amazing customer service and for being friends to all of us. Happy holidays, Joe.
“You deserve every single penny of it.”
Joe, true to form, immediately turned the attention onto his workplace and customers.
“This job has been an enormous blessing to me,” he said. “It has brought out the best in me with the wonderful customers that we have.
“They gave me strength. They give me wisdom. They give me vitality. And these wonderful people have been true to me for Christmas. They have put grace into my Christmas.
“It’s my customers that I owe this to. They bring out the best in me. It’s them. I couldn’t do it without their help.”
Phillippi posted photos and video on Facebook from the heartwarming reveal.
“This is my favorite moment of 2020,” she shared on Dec. 18. “I’m so blessed to live in such amazing community full of kind, compassionate, loving people.
“God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed me here. Merry Christmas Taco Bell Joe, you are the true model of kindness and selflessness.”
In speaking with Newsweek, Phillippi reiterated that “he deserves the recognition,” adding “he truly is the kindest, most gentle, most wonderful man,” and that “his spirit is just magical.”
No doubt this is a Christmas that Taco Bell Joe will remember and appreciate through the rest of his life, almost as much as he’s appreciated and loved by his customers.
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