Lafayette, Louisiana — Chris Muffoletto, general manager at Ruffino’s on the River, has a lot to smile about this week.
But it has nothing to do with food.
Last week, one of his employees, dishwasher Kea Senegal, had his car stolen – and immediately, the Ruffino’s team knew they had to help.
“He had saved up for months to buy a car for his family,” Muffoletto says. “He has a wife and two children – a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old – and when we found out what happened, we didn’t feel like we could let it go.”
Last week, the team held a meeting, where Muffoletto asked staff if they would be willing to pitch in to help get Senegal a replacement vehicle.
“Everyone was 100 percent onboard,” Muffoletto says. “It took three days to raise $2,500. Then, the people at Don’s Wholesale found out what we were doing and matched the funds. Their generosity was instrumental in this – they should get as much credit as anyone.”
On Wednesday, Muffoletto and the Ruffino’s team surprised Senegal with a 2015 Chevy Malibu – and his reaction was priceless.
“It was very special to see him so surprised,” Muffoletto says. “Kea has worked here since we opened. He is a very solid employee, well liked and just a great overall guy. It was very nice to be able to give back a little, especially during the Christmas season.”
One of the best parts of the experience, Muffoletto adds, was that it didn’t start out as a huge plan – it blew up on its own.
“It’s a great example of the staff and of the entire community,” Muffoletto explains. “We just got to it, raised money, and made it happen.”