Danielle Mercuri didn’t know what to do or where to turn. She’d been on unemployment for a while. Utilities were being shut off. And she had three daughters to raise.

Then, the phone rang. The timing was impeccable.

“This was probably five minutes prior to me being literally on my knees crying because I was so upset,” she recalled.

Danielle’s stepfather was on the line. His friend, Peter Hennessey, owned The Rise N Shine Diner, a small eatery tucked away behind Valvoline Instant Oil Change on Thompson Road near Carrier Circle in Syracuse. Danielle had never heard of the restaurant, let alone met Pete before. Her stepfather suggested she work as a server at the diner.

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