Waffle House employees work together to get co-worker to his graduation

When Timothy Harrison showed up for a shift on the day of his high school graduation, his co-workers rallied, racing against the clock to get him to the ceremony so he could celebrate his accomplishment.

Harrison, 18, has worked at the Waffle House in Center Point, Alabama, for almost two months. On May 27, he told his manager Cedric Hampton that he didn't have a ride to the graduation ceremony or tickets for his family, so he decided to come into work. Hampton said there was no way Harrison was going to miss graduating, and along with co-worker Shantana Blevins, he got to work putting together everything Harrison needed to attend the event.

"I had people want to see me succeed, so it kind of made me excited," Harrison told WVTM 13. The Waffle House team — with the encouragement of diners who heard what was going on — got an outfit for Harrison to wear, as well as his cap and gown. "When I put on the clothes, it was a different feeling," he said. "I don't even know the words. A million dollars? It was the best feeling." Blevins drove Harrison to the ceremony, and seeing him there "was priceless," she said.

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When Lawson State Community College heard Harrison's story, the school offered him a full scholarship, even covering books, and he will start taking classes in the fall. "To know that I have a path to go somewhere? That's something new," Harrison said.

His graduation may be over, but his co-workers are going to continue to lift Harrison up. "Now he can go to college and figure out what to do in his life, and we're gonna help guide him," Hampton said.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.