The discarded reading material slowly piled up, and now the ground floor of his small house is a makeshift community library stacked from floor to ceiling with some 20,000 books, ranging from chemistry textbooks to children's classics.
A photo of a Georgia waiter who sat down with a disabled customer to help him eat has gone viral.
Alex Ruiz, a server at Cinco de Mayo Mexican Grill in Douglasville, Georgia, stepped up Sunday to help out a customer without hands who had asked for help to eat his lunch.
A customer, whom Ruiz told CNN he had not seen in the restaurant before, ordered shrimp tacos but couldn’t feed himself.
Without missing a beat, Ruiz sat down for about half an hour and fed the man.
“It makes me very happy to help people,” Ruiz told CNN.
Ruiz spoke to the man but did not ask him how he lost his hands.
"I didn't want the man to feel uncomfortable," Ruiz told Inside Edition.
No one asked the man's name. He ordered shrimp tacos and Ruiz rolled them up and fed them to him, and sat with him for 30 minutes, making conversation as he scooped rice and beans onto a fork.
Reginald Widener, a Douglasville resident and a regular at the restaurant, snapped a photo of Ruiz’s kind gesture and posted it on his Facebook page.
Within hours, the post went viral and was quickly shared over a thousand times.
“He had a smile on his face the entire time,” Widener told CBS News. ‘He didn’t complain about it – it looked like he really cared.’
Widener told CNN that he talks to Ruiz every day and he's always in a good mood and smiling.
Ruiz, who has a young son, said he wants to teach his son what it means to be “loving.”
"I saw a man who needed help," Ruiz said. "I did what I thought was right."