FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 has been following the story of a Fremont man, who was viciously attacked while trying to defend a Denny's employee last year.
An ABC7 viewer saw the reports and stepped up to help in a big way. She performed surgery on the victim, all in an effort to build a better Bay Area.
It's been 10 months since we last saw Frederick Ibonie, who on Thursday, got some major dental work.
"Any kind of surgery makes me nervous," exclaimed Ibonie as he waited in the dental chair.
Last March, a DoorDash driver allegedly attacked Ibonie at a Fremont Denny's. He was left with a broken nose and palate, a split lip, and he lost three front teeth.
"The first impression that you have, with somebody who's missing teeth... People don't view that positively," said Ibonie, who had a gaping hole in the front of his mouth after the assault. "I've definitely had people be like whoa!"
Dr. Nidhi Pai and her husband saw ABC7's original story, and were touched by Ibonie's kindness.
Ibonie was punched after he told the suspect to stop yelling at a Denny's employee, who didn't have his to-go order ready.
"Once I saw it, I was like, we have to help him," said Dr. Pai. "He was hit so hard that half of his bone and teeth were gone."
As soon as ABC7 connected Dr. Pai with Ibonie, she got to work at her Palo Alto dental practice. She fitted him with a temporary flipper with prosthetic teeth, and on Thursday she's helping with his permanent dental implant surgery, along with implant expert, Dr. Kunal Walia, who flew to the Bay Area from Seattle for the procedure.
Ibonie has been to Dr. Pai's office for nine visits since the attack, and Dr. Pai says she'll likely be taking care of him for years to come, all free of charge.
"By the end, when Frederick's smile is all done and completed, it'll be close to $100,000 because he needs much more work than just his front implants," explained Dr. Pai, who said German dental implant brand, Straumann, donated a lot of material, along with many others who have helped put together Frederick's new smile.
"It makes me emotional thinking about it even right now. I can't even quantify how grateful I am for everything she's done for me," said Ibonie.
Dr. Pai says she's equally grateful. "I feel a lot of gratitude because there are only a few times you get to do something meaningful and make a change in someone's life."
Fremont Police have identified the DoorDash driver and are still looking for him to make an arrest.
Police say the driver does have a past criminal record, but DoorDash said they checked the Dasher's background in January 2019 and it came back clear.
DoorDash released the following statement and also said they donated to Ibonie's recovery.
At DoorDash, we take the safety of our community very seriously and therefore conduct background checks on each Dasher. We took immediate action upon learning about this incident, including cooperating with local law enforcement on the investigation and deactivating the Dasher permanently from our platform. We are deeply saddened by what happened and have reached out to support the recovery."