The Doo-Dah Diner of Wichita, Kansas, is a loving little restaurant in the heartland of America.
Owner Timirie Shibley chose the name after learning “doo-dah” is a term used for Wichita residents with a laid back and whimsical nature.
“We’ve always had an atmosphere where other customers have bought each other’s meals as a surprise. We have really supported this environment of helping others. We are a happy destination,” Shibley tells PEOPLE.
Doo-Dah Diner has been operating under this idea for two and a half years, serving up meals made from scratch and plenty of smiles.
One of the biggest smiles to pass through Doo-Dah’s doors is Brian Maixner’s. Maixner is a waiter at the diner, and one of the most recent recipients of the restaurant’s giving atmosphere.
Since childhood, the kind and talkative waiter has been plagued with dental issues. Working to earn the money for dental insurance, Maixner was still missing several teeth and suffering from painful mouth infections when Fred Boettcher sat in Maixner’s section on a busy weekend morning.
During his meal, Boettcher, an attorney from Oklahoma, asked to see the owner. He approached Shibley saying that his server had been fantastic, but that he noticed the man had some dental issues.
“When I hired Brian I wondered what I would do if a customer was to address the issue of his dental problems and how they were uncomfortable with it. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to answer that, so when Fred came up to me, that’s where I thought this was going,” Shibley says.
Instead, it took a far more positive turn.
Boettcher, who had suffered from dental problems himself as a kid, asked Shibley if he could pay to give Maixner a full dental makeover. The attorney said he had been very blessed in life, and that this is something he liked to do for others.
Shibley quickly agreed, and passed the good news on to Maixner.
“I am a guy, and I am not scared to admit it, I cried a little bit,” the waiter says of his reaction to the unique tip.
Fast forward to Wednesday, and Maxiner is greeting diners at Doo-Dah with a brand new smile. Over the past two months, Boettcher had paid to treat the single dad’s underlying dental problems and fit him with a full set of dentures.
Maixner has to heal for eight months before he goes back to Ponca City, Oklahoma, to get permanent dental implants put in, but the server is already feeling the difference with the grin he has now.
“My friends on Facebook went through the roof,” Maixner, who says he can’t stop grinning at the mirror, tells PEOPLE about his transformation. “I’ve been getting a lot of people stopping me in public.”
Now that the story of Boettcher’s generous good deed is starting to go viral, Maixner has experienced the added perk of reconnecting with old customers who lost track of their favorite waiter after he switched jobs to work at Doo-Dah.
“The most common comment we’ve seen from people online, is that this story has restored their faith in mankind,” Shibley says. “Everybody seems so refreshed to have this type of story show up. It’s a story everybody likes to share.”
Maixner and Shibley both hope this publicized act of kindness will encourage others to pay it forward.
“It doesn’t have to be a $25,000 dental makeover. It can be opening the door for somebody, or carrying their groceries,” Shibley says.
“Just kill ’em with kindness,” Maixner adds. “That’s what I’m going to do.”