Kids look to their fathers to help solve their problems and make them feel better. For little ones lucky enough to have a caring, supporting father, they are a source of strength, stability, and unending love.
But time changes all things. Eventually children grow up, dads grow old, and their roles become reversed.
Rick Rhoads was talking to his father, who was temporarily staying at an assisted living facility.
Rhoads lives in Michigan, making it difficult to regularly see his father who is receiving care in Pickering, Ontario, several hours away. But he does his best to keep in touch with his dad regularly.
His papa is 86 years old and battling pancreatic cancer. As the two spoke on the phone in May, Rhoads listened to his father lament the fact he wasn’t able to eat some of the foods that he’d grown to love over the last eight decades.
“We always had a good time eating a good cheeseburger and stuff,” Rhoads said to The Star.
Determined to give his father a taste of the comfort he was missing, Rhoads started making phone calls in the Pickering area.
Rhoads called several burger joints in the area, hoping to have some food delivered to his father.
The loving son was having a hard time finding someone who would take his order, and run it out to his father. Because of the physical distance from Pickering, Rhoads’ burger joint cold calls didn’t immediately yield any positive results.
“Not all that easy to find from Michigan,” Rhoads said.
He eventually rang Kips Flamin Burgers, a restaurant that has been an integral part of the Pickering, Ontario, landscape for the last 15 years. Restaurant owner Carmen Kolandijan answered the phone.
Initially, Kolandijan didn’t think she’d be able to meet Rhoads’ request, as she was tied up training a new employee. But after she heard the backstory, her conscience told her she had to help.
“It just tugged at my heart strings when he told me about his dad. Pay it forward,” Kolandjian said via DurhamRegion.com. “I always try to do a good deed. I have a soft spot for the elderly.”
Kolandijan personally delivered the meal once her shift was over.
“After I explained the circumstances of my father’s failing health, and concerns of his recent eating habits, she took it upon herself to extend her compassion and heart to help a son of a man whom she never met before,” Rhoads said.
“She finished her shift at work and drove the food to the local assisted living home, asking for nothing in return.”
Not only did she deliver the food, but she left a personal note. “Hi Dale, this is from your amazing son, Rick. Enjoy your meal,” the note said.
Rhoads was touched and thankful for Kolandijan’s efforts to accommodate his elderly father. He recently paid a visit to the restaurant to thank the restaurateur in person and enjoy a meal.
“People like that need to be recognized,” Rhoads said.