GOODYEAR, AZ (CBS 5) -- Joyce Higgenbotham does more than simply take orders at the Chick-fil-A restaurant off Dysart Road and McDowell Road in Goodyear.

Higgenbotham tries to get to know every customer that walks up.

"Even 30 seconds, it doesn't take much to ask someone how their day is going," said Higgenbotham. "Anything to make them feel like this is a good place, (and) this is where they want to be."

[WATCH: "You've gone out of your way to get to know us," appreciative customer tells Pay It Forward recipient.]

"I just like making the connections," Higgenbotham continued. "I just like connecting with people, making them know that I see them and hear them."

One of the connections Higgenbotham made is with Genesis Ortiz, who just graduated from Estrella High School and is headed to Arizona State University.

Ortis considers Higgenbotham a good friend who is always asking about her family, how school is going, and plans for the future.

[MORE: Pay It Forward stories]

"It's just not something you'd expect going to a fast-food restaurant," Ortiz said. "She really went out of her way to make that connection and continue with it."

Touched by Higgenbotham's kindness and caring, Ortiz and her friend Cameron reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the Chick-fil-A worker who serves up a smile with every chicken sandwich.

"We just wanted to let her know that she's appreciated, and to keep going above and beyond," Ortiz said.

A CBS 5 news crew waited in line with Ortiz to surprise Higgenbotham at work and give her $500.

"You've gone out of your way to get to know us," Ortiz told Higgenbotham. "You just went out of your way to get to know us, and become our friend when you didn't have to, but you did anyway. We wanted to give you $500 with Channel 5 News Pay it Forward."

"I think if people would just stop for a few seconds and learn to see people -- people around them -- then the whole world would have a different perspective," said Higgenbotham.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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