A longtime Denton Whataburger employee is thanking her "Whatafamily" for helping her connect with her blood family half way across the country.

"A lot of things have happened to me, but this is unreal that people are that kind, that generous," said Dawn Henley.

Henley started working at the Whataburger on Fort Worth Avenue 16 years ago. She works the breakfast shift every morning from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and she has a corps of committed customers.

"They come in every morning for pancakes," said Henley. "I have a lot of regulars. My Whatafamily. I'm with them more than I am at home."

Most of Henley's blood family lives back in Indiana. Last month, her first great-grandson was born there, and the proud great-grandmother shared the photos with her regulars.

"Bragging that I had a great-grandson when he was born, and everyone talked about me going, and I told them, I'm not going to be able to go. There's no way I could buy a ticket to go to Indiana," Henley said.

She thought all she'd have were the pictures, but two weeks ago, longtime customer Richard Birch heard her story and had a surprise.

"After he talked to his wife, they came up here with a roundtrip ticket," Henley said.

Birch also bought Henley a brand new set of luggage for the trip, and other regulars have chipped in to help make her trip special. She'll head to Indiana later this month, and then she'll back serving customers at Whataburger in Denton.

"I hope I retire here. Even if it takes me a long time to walk [around the dining room,] I hope I can still take care of my Whatacustomers," she said smiling.

A family takes care of each other, even when that family is formed under an orange and white roof.