(Photo: Screenshot via CBS 23 News)
Three waitresses at a small diner in Caledonia, Ill., are feeling blessed and grateful after a generous female patron left them a $5,000 tip each this past weekend, telling them, "God sent me here to help you." This most recent inspirational gesture is similar to the TipsforJesus campaign that involves a patron or group of patrons leaving large tips with the note "Tips for Jesus" on their server's receipt.
The three waitresses, Amy Sabani, 25, Amber Kariolich, 28, and Sarah Seckinger, 23, were prepping the Boone County Family Restaurant for diners this past Saturday when one patron, a blonde woman, asked them what their names were and began writing down something at her table. The three waitresses had been standing near the philanthropist, preparing silverware and place settings while discussing their financial woes that included student loans, dental care, and other expenses they were trying to pay off.
"I wasn't even waiting on her," one of the waitresses, Seckinger, told the local WIFR-TV. "I was just rolling silverware. We were talking about school and braces and loans and everything we can't afford and she just took it upon herself."
According to the Rockford Register Star, the anonymous patron reportedly handed each waitress a check for $5,000, telling the young women: "I want you girls to take these to help with school and everything else in life."
"Yes, you can take it. You put that in your pocket. God sent me here to help you," she added.
Seckinger added to the Rockford Register Star that she will use the patron's generous tip to finish her degree in criminal justice so she can become a police officer. The waitresses and the restaurant's owner, Matt Nebiu, have chosen to protect the philanthropist's identity by not revealing her name to the media.
"I've never seen anything like this in 30-something years here," Nebiu told the local news outlet. "I've heard of it in other places, but not in this town or this area."
Sabani, another one of the lucky waitresses to receive the large tip, told WIFR-TV that she hopes the money will allow her to spend a little extra time with her son, as she currently works two jobs. "I work two jobs and I have a little boy at home so maybe spend more time with him and do more things with him and just get ahead of myself," she said. "I hope that one day I have the amount to do the same thing to somebody else."
In another recent story of generosity, a family dining at a Knoxville, Tenn., restaurant left a $1,075 tip for waitress Khadijah Muhammad, who is currently struggling to support her ailing mother and pay her bills on time. The tip left for Muhammad was accompanied by a note that read "Jesus blessed us and we were led to give it to you. God Bless!"
"I just want to thank them. Thank them so much, because I'm humbled. I'm grateful. I do believe that God led you to me at this time in my life," Muhammad said.
In 2013, one person or a group of people started the social media trend "Tips for Jesus," where they would leave generous tips at various restaurants across the country. The anonymous person would then sign the receipt "Tips for Jesus" and post photos of the receipts on the "TipsforJesus" Facebook and Twitter pages. Some have suggested that Jack Selby, the former vice president of PayPal, is behind the TipsforJesus phenomenon, although Selby has not confirmed this.
The most recent acts of generosity in Illinois and Tennessee were not part of the TipsforJesus movement because they did not contain the TipsforJesus logo, but these most recent incidences could prove that the message behind the TipsforJesus campaign is spreading.