JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The smell of chicken fresh out of the fryer and burgers sizzling on the grill. The clatter of plates and silverware. The sights, sounds and smells at Southern Grill on Jacksonville's Southbank can overwhelm the senses.
The cooks and servers are used to it, but “The Morning Show” team is usually on the receiving end of what they're grilling.
That wasn't the case earlier this month when we had the opportunity to step behind the counter.
Members of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office motorcycle unit are regulars at Southern Grill, and we wanted to "Pay It 4ward" for everything they do for the city.
Some of us were more hands-on than others, with Lena, Melanie and I taking orders and serving meals (while Bruce and Richard “supervised” the kitchen staff).
No cash, credit cards or tips were accepted.
The motormen had their own reason to stop by the restaurant that day: They wanted to spend time with another customer, Officer Jack Adams.
Adams comes in most Thursdays after physical therapy. He is still recovering from a traumatic car accident that devastated his family, taking the life of his wife, Kathy, a JSO bailiff.
A suspected DUI driver hit the Adams' SUV in December as the couple and their children were returning from the Mandarin High School football state title game. Jack Adams was severely injured in the crash and has been working his way back in rehab since leaving the hospital.
It has been inspiring to watch his recovery, and the support he's gotten from the community is exactly what we're talking about when we say "Pay It 4ward."
During our visit to Southern Grill, we bought breakfast for Officer Adams and chatted with him about the impact his story has had on the community. He said he understands how much he's encouraging others as they watch his remarkable recovery.
That chance to inspire others is the theme of our “Pay It 4ward” series this week. Watch all week as we surprise local people who are doing great work in our community.
We also invite you to pay it forward, if you can. Who's making a difference in your life? Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. We certainly learned that at our school visit, bringing smiles one cup of ice cream at a time.