Reporter helps Waffle House waitress recover surprise $1,000 tip

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJune 10, 2014 

— The man didn't give his name. He didn't give a reason. But during the Mother's Day overnight shift, he left Waffle House waitress Shaina Brown a $1,500 tip — with one instruction: share $500 of it with a woman at the next table.

“I’m going to bless you tonight,” the man told his waitress, a single mother with three kids working two jobs, according to the Charlotte Observer. “You have a good spirit.” Then he got into a cab.

Such spontaneities are becoming more and more common as the goodwill stories, often spread through social media, engender themselves.

As ThinkProgress notes, "One man, under the Instagram name tipsforjesus, has even been traveling the country leaving mega-tips and Instagraming the people who receive them. His profile reads, 'Doing the Lord’s work, one tip at a time.'"

But Waffle House made Brown return the tip. A company spokesperson told the Observer that large tips left on a credit card are regularly refunded, and the patron is asked to re-tip with cash or check.

Observer reporter Josh Shaffer didn't quite buy that explanation. "You’re denying your workers a benefit based on a worst-case scenario," he wrote. "Nobody carries $1,000 in cash to a Waffle House, and plenty of people leave the checkbook at home."

So Shaffer contacted the tipster on Brown's behalf.

When reached, the unnamed businessman agreed to write out a personal check for the tip amount.

"I suggest everybody visit the Hillsborough Street Waffle House on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night and specifically request Shaina Brown’s table," Shaffer wrote. "Bring cash."

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