Red Lobster waitress Toni Christina Jenkins received a huge surprise in the form a check for $10,759 after sharing her story of working and receiving a receipt with the phrase "None N-----" in the tip section. Friends posted the image, which went viral, and website owner Matthew Hanson set up an account to help encourage the young woman.
"I almost choked," Jenkins told AddictingInfo.com, Hanson's website. "I was like, 'wait, that's for me? Like to have?' Lol. I was stunned. But most of all I was touched. I had shed a lot of tears from the criticism and hate I was getting and it was as breath of fresh air to know that people were supporting me and actually cared enough to give to me when they didn't even know me."
Hanson was moved by Jenkins' story, which some have questioned. She claims that a table she waited on left the racist receipt, when she then took a photo of and posted online. The Red Lobster restaurant she worked for was initially not pleased with Jenkins' posting of the photo and suspended her with pay. However, the owners changed their mind and she is now back at work for the same place.
Hanson wanted to get Jenkins the tip that she truly deserved and set a goal of raising $10,000 in 30 days. It took nowhere near that long and the website received the $10,000 in donations in only 72 hours. He stopped at that amount, though, so that Jenkins would not have to pay a lot of taxes on the gift or deal with other criticism from people.
"What it did do was change my perspective on most people," Jenkins wrote to AddictingInfo. "Before I assumed most people wouldn't care or think this was a big deal because it happens everyday all over the world. I just figured this would be another instance of racism and nothing would come of it, however the love and support I have received from strangers has shown me that most people do truly care about others and are just seeking an opportunity to give into someone else's situation or current circumstance."
Jenkins is currently working at Red Lobster while attending nursing school. She wants to use the money to buy a car to help ease her travels between work, school, and the community programs she serves.
"I have a list of people I want to bless too because I truly believe I am blessed to bless others and there is always more given unto those who give," Jenkins said. She then went on to say she hopes God "touches the heart" of Devin Barnes, the young man whose name is on the receipt.
"I hope you can understand that my heart is genuine in my apology and that God touches your heart to accept my apology… I had NO CLUE your name was printed on the receipt. As a Christian, my God calls me to love people and that's what I do. I wish you the best of blessings in your future and I want to thank you for the impact you've had on my life."