As the mother of an 18-month-old daughter, Courtney Pedigo rarely gets a moment of calm, especially during meal time. But that changed this week, at least for one evening — thanks to a kind act by an Olive Garden waitress named Nianni Rudder.
Pedigo, 24, was with her family on Monday evening at an Olive Garden in Greensboro, North Carolina, with the hopes of enjoying a hot, Italian meal. But her young daughter, Harlynn, was having a hard time sitting still.
“She did everything but sit in her high chair and eat her dinner like I picture in my dreams,” Pedigo wrote in a Facebook post, which has garnered more than 150 shares and nearly 700 reactions as of Thursday afternoon.
Feeling overwhelmed, Pedigo told Fox News she decided to ask Rudder if she could take her meal to go. To her surprise, Rudder didn’t comply — offering instead to sit with Harlynn at the table while Pedigo ate her meal.
“I was shocked,” Pedigo said, adding Rudder told her she should “sit down and enjoy your dinner while I sit with her [Harlynn].”
“She went over there and occupied Harlynn as I ate my food. [Rudder] fed her ice cream and wiped her face and hands — she was taking care of her,” Pedigo said.
Later that night, Pedigo decided to share the story on social media, hoping those who read about the event would realize “there are more people out there like her.”
“I never expected it to blow up like it has on Facebook, but I’m glad it did because I want people to see and recognize her for what she did,” Pedigo said, adding Rudder will “never truly know how appreciative" she was for her sweet gesture. "I seriously admire you [Rudder]."
Rudder later wrote on Facebook she “didn't intend on going ‘viral.’”
“I didn't help my guest to go ‘viral.’ I did what I would want for someone to do for me if I was in that situation. People need to be more compassionate with one another. Anyone with a heart would have done the same,” she added.