When high school students in Vail, AZ, arrived at school at 2 a.m. in May to hop onto buses for a senior class trip to Disneyland, being taken advantage of was the last thing they thought would happen.
The buses never showed. The booking agency never responded when contacted, and the website disappeared. The hotel rooms in California were also only partially paid. With over $30,000 now gone, the trip was cancelled.
Culver’s of Tucson, AZ owner Kevin Hart heard about the buses not showing up on a community forum where parents and the school were trying to raise funds to send the students on their trip.
Kevin has worked with the school in the past through share nights and by volunteering. He knew he wanted to help out this time, so he contacted his business partners Rich Hafdal and Edward Norton. The three agreed to pool together funds and donate $15,000 to a page set up for donations.
“I just felt it was the right thing to do,” Kevin said. “Many families are struggling just to make ends meet and just don’t have the money to spare.”
“I just felt it was the right thing to do” - Kevin
Thanks to the donation, the students were able to go on their trip at a later date. The reaction, Kevin says, was truly humbling. He and his partners received phone calls from parents, students and faculty and a giant thank-you card. Some of the students even sent Kevin pictures during the trip. “Community leaders and people not affiliated with the school have talked to me about what a wonderful thing we did,” Kevin said. “Parents and students tear up when talking to me about how much it meant to them.”
To thank Kevin and his partners even more for their donation, students and parents held a Culver’s appreciation night. “Both myself and Ed were at the restaurant to meet and greet everyone and thank them for coming out.”
According to Kevin, supporting your community is simply the right thing to do. He added that as a restaurant, giving back gives his team a sense of pride to be part of an organization that truly cares.