Walker Hayes’ Act of Kindness: Surprising A Deserving Father of Five With A New Car at Applebee’s

The moment came together thanks to One Country and spouses Krista and Bryce Horton, who partnered with Hayes’ Be A Craig Fund to make it happen.

By

Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on August 9, 2023

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Courtesy of One Country/Walker Hayes

It would be quite a surprise to be sitting inside an Applebee’s to find Walker Hayes approaching the table with two Oreo shakes in hand. But, that recently happened to one guy named Jeremy — an incredible father and friend, who was in Texas at one of the popular food establishments with his buddy, Travis.

But, there’s more. Unbeknownst to Jeremy, Hayes was on hand to give him an even bigger surprise — a Ford Bronco. The moment came together thanks to One Country and spouses Krista and Bryce Horton, who partnered with Hayes’ Be A Craig Fund to make it happen.

Watch The Heartwarming Moment Unfold Below

In this clip, the Hortons appear dressed as waiters as they take Jeremy and Travis’ orders. Not long after, Hayes steps out with a couple of Oreo shakes and asks to join the table.

“How do you all know each other?” the “Fancy Like” singer asks the two men, making small talk.

“I’m the director of IT for our organization,” Travis replies before Jeremy answers, “I’m the employee relations director there.”

After making sure both men have tickets to his concert, Hayes turns to Jeremy, saying, “I’m excited. I have a surprise for you. Jeremy, can I pull you aside from your meal?”

As the guys head outside, Hayes shares more details about the gift he’s about to surprise Jeremy with.

“So I don’t know if you knew this, but Travis nominated you for a giveaway with One Country and Krista and Bryce. We know your story,” he shares. “We know you’ve had trouble with vehicles and stuff like that, and we know how good of a guy you are and how good you just try to be to people, and they got you this. This here, this car is yours.”

Courtesy of One Country/Walker Hayes
Courtesy of One Country/Walker Hayes

Made Possible By Walker Hayes’ Be A Craig Fund

After seeing his new vehicle and sharing hugs with the Hortons, Jeremy says, “….Wow. I don’t even know what to say but thank you. Thank you so much.”

Jeremy’s friend, Travis, sent in a submission to Hayes’ Be A Craig Fund, nominating him as the recipient after noticing Jeremy and his family have had to deal with the loss of several vehicles due to their unreliability. Despite his struggles in finding a vehicle for his family, Jeremy has kept a positive attitude and always has a smile on his face.

“When I got on his website, the words ‘Be A Craig’ rolled through as a banner. I was like, ‘What’s this about?’” Travis said of the moment he decided to nominate Jeremy. “I obviously knew the song, so I clicked on that and read the description, and I was like, ‘Well, it was perfect timing.’ The week or two before, every car that Jeremy’s family had had a problem. And so I was like, ‘Well, this is easy.”

Courtesy of One Country/Walker Hayes
Courtesy of One Country/Walker Hayes

Donated A Ford Bronco

As for The Hortons, they donated a Ford Bronco to someone in need after being inspired by Hayes’ story of his friend Craig. 

For those who need a refresher, Hayes met Craig at one of the lowest points in his life, long before he topped the charts in country music with his viral “Fancy Like” hit. At the time, Hayes was a self-proclaimed atheist, struggling songwriter, and alcoholic. Craig, with his generous heart, befriended Hayes and his family. Throughout Hayes’ journey in faith, Craig never passed judgment. One day, he noticed Hayes was in need of a vehicle to cart his six kids around. Without hesitation, Craig gave Hayes the keys and title to his minivan.  

Their friendship inspired Hayes to write the song “Craig,” which walks listeners through the story of how the two met and became friends through faith.

“I’ll Buy A Car For The Be A Craig Foundation”

That story moved the Hortons to make the same leap of giving away a vehicle to someone in need. Their actions began at one of Hayes’ shows in Bakersfield, Calif., in which Bryce just made a joke on his Instagram asking Hayes to “pull me up on stage, and I’ll buy a car for the [Be A Craig] Foundation.”

“I think I said I’d give $10,000 if you pull me up on stage,” Bryce recalled of the moment he decided to share his generous heart. “That’s how we got into talks, and I mean, I’m serious about it. I’ll donate to the Be A Craig Foundation. It’s been like a year in the process of talking with the team.”

“Because we’ve always been huge fans of Walker. I mean the “Craig” song has been one of our favorite songs for forever, and we just always thought it was so cool,” Krista intervened. “…. So we were like, that’d be so cool if we could do that one day. And here we are. It’s a long time in the making and it finally happened, and it all worked out perfectly.”

“I love this job, man. I feel like I’m just the Applebee’s guy,” Hayes says. “Krista and Bryce were the Craig today, stepping in Craig’s shoes and One Country helping us facilitate it. And like I said, I just showed up, and waited on their table for a minute and got to walk ’em to their Bronco. But yeah, man, it was incredible. Jeremy, what a great guy. And one of my favorite parts is meeting the person who nominated the person, which was Travis today. So, he’s a hero today, definitely being a Craig today.”

Previously Surprised A Deserving Mom With A New Truck Last Year

The generous giveaway comes after Walker’s Be A Craig Fund and One Country surprised a deserving mom with a brand-new Yukon Denali last year. Check out the full video for that above!

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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