Viral Burger King Employee Who Never Missed Work in 27 Years Has Tearful Family Reunion on 'Today'

Kevin Ford's hard work has paid off big time, the viral fast food worker receiving $212,962 in donations (and counting) for his decades of dedication

Kevin Ford
Photo: Today

Kevin Ford, the fast food employee who went viral this month after it was revealed he never missed a day at work for 27 years, stopped by the Today show on Tuesday where he had an emotional reunion with his daughter and his three grandchildren.

The 54-year-old father of four was brought to tears when he saw his family, telling co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin that it's the first time he's seen them in 4 years.

"I haven't seen them," Ford said, hugging his grandkids and wiping his eyes from tears. "I haven't touched my grandchildren or anything."

When asked what this special moment meant to the family, Seryna — Ford's daughter and mom to kids Charlotte, Caroline and Jovonne — told Today, "It's a lot to take in, honestly."

"It means a lot," she said. "It means a lot to us."

Ford has worked at the Las Vegas McCarren International Airport for nearly three decades as an employee of HMSHost, a food service company for restaurants like Burger King and Cinnabon.

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Last week, a coworker shared a video on Instagram of Ford showing off the gifts he received from a manager in honor of his 27th year, which included things like Starbucks reusable cup, two bags of candy, and some movie ticket vouchers. The video later went viral on TikTok, with commenters demanding he receive more for his long, unwavering service.

Seryna later created a GoFundMe page for her dad to show her own appreciation of him.

"[My dad] originally began working at this job as a single father when he gained custody of me and my older sister 27 years ago," she explained in her post. "Then as our family grew and he remarried, he continue to work here because of the amazing health insurance that was provided through this employer because it was unionized, which got all four of his daughters through high school and college with full healthcare coverage. My dad continues to work here, because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age and leaving would cost him his retirement."

She said in her post she was hoping to raise $200 for a plane ticket to allow him to come visit her and her children. Instead, it's raised $212,962 and counting, with actor David Spade even donating $5,000.

"I didn't have high expectations when I posted it, honestly," Seryna said on Today, "It definitely exceeded expectations."

"My dad deserves the world to me, in my opinion," Seryna added. "My dad gave me the world. My dad made me the person that I am. I love my dad more than I can ever put into word."

Kevin Ford

Ford stressed on Tuesday that he was extremely thankful for the generosity of all who have donated.

"I just can't believe this. Thank you, thank you everybody. I just want to tell everybody out there, thank you for every cent. Just the thought of watching the video and just having a reason to smile. I want to thank everybody," he said. "There's been donations from Australia, the U.K. — all around the world. I just want to say thank you to everybody. It's just a dream come true. It's just a whirlwind of love. Spread the love, cause every day you need it."

He also clarified that he is still grateful for the gift he got from his manager, saying his original video was meant to thank his boss, not complain. "I was just grateful to have it. I'm still grateful!" he said. "I have that [Starbucks] cup in my room!"

Said HMSHost in a statement to Today: "This recognition of Mr. Ford by another employee captured the essence of our culture of appreciation, caring and inclusion and reflects the best of our company — our people. Mr. Ford is a valued associate and member of an honored group of employees that have worked for us for many years."

Kevin Ford

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When asked by Guthrie how he managed to work 27 years without taking a day off, Ford jokingly said, "I don't know, maybe I'm a robot!"

"I don't know how I did it," he said. "It's just something… you just work. You got to feed these kids and put them through school. I never even thought of missing a day."

As to why he feels his story resonated with people, Ford said, "I think it just has to do with the fact that people love to see somebody grateful for something and happy for the little things, which I am. I've been through a lot, everybody's been through a lot. So I look for the smaller things. I'm grateful for everything. I'm grateful for every day that I wake up and go to work and be a good citizen, be a good American"

Seeing their grandfather work so hard has certainly made a lasting impression on his grandkids.

His grandson told Today he learned an important lesson from his grandpa: "Don't be greedy."

Updated by
Dave Quinn
Dave Quinn

Dave Quinn is an Editor for PEOPLE, working across a number of verticals including the Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams.

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