An employee of a restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, was brought to tears when co-workers surprised him with a new car after his was stolen just weeks earlier.
Ruffin Rodrigue, the owner of Ruffino’s on the River, told Global News he and his employees all pitched in to buy the dishwasher, Kea Senegal, a new set of wheels.
The Daily Advertiser reported that the group raised $2,500 in just three days.
Video posted to Facebook shows the emotional moment Senegal’s coworkers unveiled the silver, four-door sedan.
Senegal appears to start crying but regains his composure and hugs his fellow co-workers before walking toward his new car.
“Merry Christmas,” some of his co-workers call to him.
Rodrigue said when the group surprised Kea with the car, he was putting up the “biggest, most beautiful” Christmas tree. That’s why he was able to capture the moment on camera.
Rodrigue said Senegal, who has been with Ruffino’s for five years, is a new father of a four-month-old baby girl.
He told Global News the girl’s car seat was also stolen, so the team pitched in to replace that as well.
“I mean, he has a four-month-old baby girl, he needs transportation,” Rodrigue said.
The restaurant owner said off-camera he was also emotional.
“I’m a really emotional guy…It doesn’t’ take much for me to start tearing up,” he told Global News.
“My reaction was tears of joy; not just for him, but to see the love they have for each other,” he said of his employees.
Rodrigue said since he posted the video last week Senegal has become a “local celebrity.”
“People are coming in and asking if they can meet Kea,” he added. “He’s got a big smile and a big personality, so it’s kind of cool.”