70-Year-Old Taco Bell Employee Receives $6,000 Tip from Community: 'His Spirit Is Just Magical'
"He truly is the kindest, most gentle, most wonderful man," Tricia Phillippi, who presented Joe DeCicco with the check, told Newsweek
On Friday, Joe DeCicco, who has worked at a Taco Bell in South Daytona for the past two decades, was presented with a check for $6,095 — a gift that had started at $50 before more people pitched in to thank "Taco Bell Joe" for his years of brightening their day at the fast food restaurant.
After being voted favorite employee in a Facebook group dedicated to "foodie reviews" in the area, DeCicco was presented with the check on Friday by the group's admin Tricia Phillippi, according to Newsweek. She also shared clips of the emotional moment to Facebook.
Said DeCicco in one of the videos, "It's my customers that I owe this to. They bring out the best in me. It's them. I couldn't do it without your help."
"And I'm going to do my best to live up to it," he added. "And spark a light, a little candle in every heart of every person that I meet."
Phillippi told Newsweek that DeCicco "deserves the recognition," as "he truly is the kindest, most gentle, most wonderful man. He makes driving through Taco Bell an actual experience. His spirit is just magical."
"The original prize was a $50 cash prize," she told DeCicco in one emotional video. "But after I saw all the comments that were coming through about the kindness that you've been giving people for more than 20 years, making all of us your friends and giving us exceptional service, on the behalf of the foodie review page and all of your friends here within your community, I'm so proud to present you with a cash prize of $6,095."
"Thank you for your amazing customer service and for being friends to all of us," Phillippi added before presenting him with the check. "Happy holidays, Joe."
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"This job has been an enormous blessing to me. It has brought out the best in me with the wonderful customers that we have," DeCicco replied, in part. "They gave me strength. They give me wisdom. They give me vitality."
"And these wonderful people have been true to me for Christmas. They have put grace into my Christmas," he continued, getting audibly emotional throughout the footage.
One of the people who donated, Raj Gohill, praised DeCicco's kind nature and special talent for lifting his customers' spirits during difficult times.
"You could have the worst day, by the time you get through the drive-thru there, you're just smiling," Gohill said, according to ABC 13.