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December 18, 2015

New Jersey firefighters generously return favor for waitress who picked up breakfast tab

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12182016_wheelchairVan /Courtesy of abc7NY

Liz Woodard, with the microphone, stands next to her father, who is wheelchair-bound.

Two New Jersey firefighters have returned the favor – a few thousand times over – to a waitress who bought them breakfast by spearheading the effort acquire a wheelchair-accessible van for the woman's father.

Back in July, Liz Woodward, a waitress at the Route 30 Diner in Delran, New Jersey, picked up the tab for firefighters Paul Hullings and Tim Young. Hullings just had spent 12 hours battling a warehouse fire in North Brunswick, and afterwards he met up with Young, a firefighter with the Mt. Holly Fire Department. reports when the men finished eating, Woodward brought them their tab. Instead of listing the totals for their meal, it included note from their waitress that, in part, read:

"Thank you for all that you do, for serving others and for running into the places everyone else runs away from."

Hullings and Young were touched by Woodward's sentiment and generosity. Hullings said he began to "tear up" when he read the note.

As news of Woodward's kind gesture spread virally online, the two firefighters became aware that Woodward had been trying to raise money to purchase a wheelchair-accessible van for her paralyzed father.

Hullings and Young made it their mission to help Woodward's campaign, which at the time had collected $30,000 of the $80,000 needed to purchase the van. Among those who also learned of Woodward's plight was the staff at Mobility Ventures in New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is part of a national company that builds specialized paratransit vehicles.

Mobility Ventures matched the funds already raised through the efforts of Woodward and the firefighters, and on Thursday were on-hand to deliver Woodward and father the new van.

"When we heard about Liz's efforts to help her father and the incredible support she's received from her community, we were deeply inspired and wanted to pay forward her kindness," said Pat Kemp, Mobility Ventures Executive Vice President.

Woodward and her family were moved by the generosity. Read more coverage of this story here.