LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A lifelong friend of an 85-year-old McDonald's employee is helping him out after he lost his wife at the restaurant he's worked at for 40 years.
Wendall Gill's smiling face has greeted customers for decades at the Richmond Road McDonald's.
"Hi, How are you?" he asked one customer Wednesday. It's a greeting he has said thousands of times at the restaurant.
Gill usually brings life to customers' faces, but two months ago, tragedy struck while at work when his wife Della decided to visit him for lunch. It would be their last meal together, as she went to the bathroom and never came out, dying of an aneurysm.
"When he walked up I could tell he was just destroyed, and he said "I lost my wife," Todd Oldfield said.
"He had a lot of expenses that he was dealing with, especially being that he can't work full-time now because he's got his two sweet boys to take care of," Oldfield said, "I wanted to pay off his van so he'd be able to drive his boys around."
In 10 days the fundraiser collected $68,000. The money will go toward paying off Wendall's vehicles and other outstanding debt.
"I feel good, happy that people think that much of me to pay off my bills and stuff," Gill said.
Wendall put some of those donations to use Wednesday afternoon, as he made that final payment on his Jeep.
Southland Christian Church on Richmond Road is hosting a Wendall Gill appreciation party Saturday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.