This is Carolina: After fall from grace, restaurant employee now - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

This is Carolina: After fall from grace, restaurant employee now sings ‘Amazing Grace’

A bus boy at Simply Southern Smokehouse is spreading a message of love to the customers. (Source: WMBF News) A bus boy at Simply Southern Smokehouse is spreading a message of love to the customers. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - One man is bringing customers to a Grand Strand restaurant for more than warm and gooey mac n' cheese.

This employee's tunes are touching the hearts of the thousands who visit Simply Southern Smokehouse in Myrtle Beach, but there's more to his story than just charisma.

"I love it you know. I love the people, I love kids,” said singer Issac Collington Jr. "And I love my job. I put my whole heart in it, 150 percent.”

Frequent customer Sandria Williamson said she’s seen people leave the restaurant crying because of Collington’s “Godly voice."

"You could be sad and he builds you up, and lets you know that God loves you regardless," Willamson said.

If Simply Southern Smokehouse is Collington’s church, he's preaching happiness and hope to his congregation.

"I had a young gentleman. He was really going through this moment, you know, sadness. I started singing a song; I started singing 'Amazing Grace.’ By me singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ he came over there and told me, 'Man, thank you for singing that song. I was going through a hard time and by you singing that song, you really touched my heart,'" Collington said.

It's the business Collington is happy to be in after being saved by grace himself.

"I've been shot, stabbed, cut up. I was living on the streets for like eight months. I got so bad on crack cocaine,” he said. “By being out on the streets, I've seen a lot of stuff."

It lasted six years.

"One Sunday morning I went to church, and I give it up. I told God, I said, 'God, I want you to change my life. I want you to take this away from me,'” Collington said. “And he came, changed my life."

Now, 36 years later, Collington is spreading a message of his own.

"Believe God, that he'll work it out for you because he can't do it all by himself,” he said. “You got to meet him halfway, got to meet him halfway."

Collington has fostered dozens of children with his wife and even adopted one as his own. There's no telling how many other hundreds of children's days he's brightened with his talents, which also includes making balloon animals.

Still, the question is how did this all start? How did he find the courage to sing every day and the love to keep it going?

"I had a jam box wherever I go, a big ol’ jam box. Well, one day I asked the boss, ‘Do you think it'd be alright? Can I sing?'” Collington said. “And he said, 'Oh, that'd be wonderful.' So that's when I started singing."

It began at the filling station that used to be where Simply Southern is now. Collington has been singing here for four-and-a-half years and can't imagine his beautiful life any other way. 

"It's a beautiful life," he said.

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