At the age of 16, Brenden McGee got his first after-school job. When his life took an unexpected turn, he was working at Whitey’s Ice Cream in Moline, Illinois.
Brenden could see a woman was sobbing and distraught when she approached the drive-thru window. She couldn’t even get a word out.
Finally, he realized she was ordering a shake. So Brenden gave the woman a handshake, handed it to her, and said, “Tonight, your shake is on me. Have a pleasant evening.”
Brenden didn’t think much of the encounter after that, but she returned to Whitey’s a few days later. She specifically requested to talk with a manager this time.
Rhonda, Brenden’s boss, was concerned that she would want to file a complaint against the sweet and gentle teen.
But no one could have predicted what happened afterwards…
Whitey’s Ice Cream in Moline has been a favorite attraction in the Illinois neighborhood for decades.
Rhonda VanDyke, the manager, has established a feeling of love and giving in her workers, which has permeated to their client base.
Brenden McGee was 16 years old when he took a job at Whitey’s after school in 2015.
It was his first “real” job, but he didn’t waste any time putting Rhonda’s compassion standards to good use.
During Brenden’s third week on the job, a tearful woman approached the drive-thru window.
Brenden noticed this distressed client wanted a shake after she struggled to communicate coherently through her tears a few times.
“Your shake is on me tonight, you have a good night,” Brenden remarked as he handed it to her.
Through her emotions, the mother smiled at the teen before driving away.
Brenden forgot about the little contact since he thought it was such a minor gesture of kindness and went about his work as normal.
However, that same woman came to Whitey’s a few days later and requested to talk with Brenden’s manager.
Rhonda, Brenden’s boss, was first concerned that the woman intended to file a complaint against him. Instead, she discovered why the woman was so angry the day he served her.
The woman, it turned out, was in grief. Her husband had recently died a few weeks before she arrived at the drive-thru, and she was having a difficult time.
Brenden’s act of paying for her shake moved the woman so much that she asked Rhonda whether he might be recognized.
Rhonda informed the woman that there was no Employee of the Month program in place, but that she would inform the office about Brenden’s good deed.
A notation was placed in Brenden’s employee file by Whitey’s administrative personnel. They also put a handcrafted sign in the rear room (seen above), which made the thankful woman very pleased.
“It’s absolutely preferable to be kind and friendly,” Brenden told KWQC. “We naturally have to be kind to others, but it’s always great to go that additional mile.”
Brenden was diagnosed with cancer two months after his good action went viral and earned national notoriety, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to commit acts of kindness.
Through GoFundMe and Facebook, people from all around the world contributed to Brenden’s struggle. Brenden was also granted four years of free tuition at the University of Iowa since he was a patient under the age of eighteen. Brenden, on the other hand, saw that young patients above the age of 18 were “being overlooked.” Brenden and his mother Marcy booked a vacation to Disney World for a local family with a 20-year-old student and cancer patient in an effort to emphasize that no one should struggle alone.
Brenden declared himself cancer-free in March 2016 after finishing multiple rounds of treatment.