For almost 20 many years, Joe DeCicco has worked at the travel-via window of a Taco Bell in South Daytona, Florida. He refers to all his buyers as mates, remembers his friends by title and his contagious smile makes it hard for everyone to neglect him.

So when Tricia Phillippi commenced a contest asking folks to nominate their most loved neighborhood food field worker — who would then receive a prize — it wasn’t challenging to see why DeCicco received by a landslide.

When Phillippi met him on December 18 and gave him the verify, DeCicco was in tears.

“It’s my shoppers that I owe this to. They carry out the finest in me. It’s them. I could not do it with out your assist,” DeCicco, 70, explained in a online video exhibiting the heartwarming instant. “And I am going to do my greatest to live up to it, and spark a mild, a very little candle in each individual heart of each individual human being that I satisfy.”
As the coronavirus pandemic commenced, Phillippi designed a Facebook group dedicated to supporting battling regional places to eat. To retain individuals energetic, she hosted contests with modest awards she paid out for herself.

“I experienced our members nominate their area most loved in the services business and the individual who wins will get a $50 reward card,” Phillippi informed CNN. “In virtually five minutes, the 1st nomination was Taco Bell Joe. Remarks kept flooding in on him, contacting him a legend, declaring how substantially they like him. So when he received, I determined to permit men and women donate to the holiday getaway funds prize, much too.”

Rather of supplying him $50, Phillippi released a Facebook fundraiser on December 7 and invited folks to donate so DeCicco could be surprised with a big tip for the holiday getaway year.

At first, in accordance to Phillippi, the aim was to reach $300. But in just a number of hrs, the donations surpassed that number. When she lifted it to $500, it speedily achieved about $6,000 in a make any difference of days.

“I cried virtually just about every day for months for the reason that it truly is not just about Joe, it can be about the greater picture,” Phillippi said. “It truly is outrageous how a lot of an amazing knowledge he offers people today, and it truly is just a Taco Bell push-via. This year has been so tough, we’re all hurting amongst the pandemic and politics, so this goes to show you that there is however humanity.”

Extra than 300 persons donated to the fundraiser, with lots of leaving comments recounting their stories of Taco Bell Joe.

A single few outlined how they would go by means of the Taco Bell push-by means of when they had a poor day mainly because DeCicco lifted their spirits. An additional man or woman mentioned they would even convey their out-of-state attendees to fulfill him so they could witness his kindness.

“This occupation has been an huge blessing to me,” DeCicco reported. “It has bought out the most effective in me. I have amazing buyers, they give me strength, they give me wisdom, they give me vitality. And these excellent men and women are the correct that means of Xmas.”