Along with endless salad and breadsticks, customers at the Kennewick, Washington Olive Garden have also grown to expect something special with their birthday meal—server Alphonso Nichols’ incredible voice.
A video of Nichols, 31, singing “Happy Birthday” to 17-year-old twins Hannah and Ella Haddox went viral after their mother Amy Haddox posted the video on Facebook.
“We were so surprised!” Amy said of Nichols’ soulful rendition. She immediately knew she was experiencing something special, so she recorded the moment.
Nichols, who is the chief birthday singer at Olive Garden, has been singing there for nearly a year.
“I wasn’t noticing the reaction at first,” Nichols said. “But everyone was telling me the room would go silent and everyone would look over at me and watch and clap and then go back to eating.”
In a fun coincidence, Amy Haddox met her husband when they were both working as servers at an Olive Garden. She laughed about how servers would “flee like rats from a sinking ship” to avoid having to sing the birthday song.
“When they were like. ‘He is going to sing,’ I was like, ‘You don’t have to. We’re still going to give you a good tip,'” Amy said.
Nichols has been singing for as long as he can remember. He grew up singing in church and entered singing competitions, always taking first place.
His goal is to pursue music full time. He is currently working on a Christian music album and hopes to release it next year.
“I have an 8-year-old son and I want him to know you should never give up on chasing your goals and dreams,” Nichols said. “I always keep myself going for that as well and make sure I sing something every day. You never know!”