Formerly homeless restaurant worker surprises customers with random acts of kindness

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An employee at California Pizza Kitchen in Pleasanton is serving up more than just what's on the menu. For many customers, he is offering them plenty of reasons to smile and a renewed sense that there is good in the world.

Chris Haynes is a server at the CPK at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. 

During a recent shift, he met a mother who brought her two sons to lunch to celebrate their good grades.

When Haynes learned of this, he got permission from his manager to duck out for a minute and went to purchase gift cards for the Lego store.

He came back to hand the gift cards to the boys along with a card inscribed with inspirational messages, signed by himself and his co-workers.  

"We were blown away!" writes the boys' mother in an Instagram post.

On Haynes's Facebook page he's posted other instances in which he has surprised customers in different ways. 

One post shows the reaction of a pregnant woman after Haynes gives her and her husband a gift certificate to Pottery Barn Kids.

Another shows a young girl who was visited by Chris the "tooth fairy" after she lost her tooth while eating at CPK. 

Haynes tells KTVU Fox 2 that he is humbled and blessed to be able to serve his customers.

The 29-year-old says a few years back he fell on hard times and in 2013, ended up homeless.

After he got back on his feet and started working at CPK, Haynes says he wanted customers to know that they are a part of the reason he had his life back.

"I found out when you make it about the people, that's where the biggest joy comes from," says Haynes. 

So he has set out to celebrate his customers and their "life moments."   

"He usually goes above and beyond with every customer," according to CPK manager Karina Avalos.

Haynes's acts of kindness come in other ways too, Avalos says. 

She notes he is raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation by dedicating certain shifts during which he donates 100% of his tips to the organization.  

The mother who brought her sons to CPK to celebrate their academic success was clearly touched by Haynes's thoughtful act. 

In her post she writes, "Many thanks to this fine young man, and the wonderful staff at CPK. There are still great people in this world!"