Last week, The Stranger published an argument about tipless restaurants that have begun popping up in Seattle. Writer Dan Savage was against the idea, saying tips are what make waiting tables a “good,” “lucrative” job.

Add a 15 to 22 percent service charge or price increase and basically split up that dough among everyone in the place—waiters, managers, hosts, bussers, dishwashers, prep cooks, line cooks. Take a place with some people making decent money and some people making far-from-decent money and turn it into a place where no one makes decent money.

One thing Savage failed to mention is that those kinds of restaurants prevent an entire category of feel-good story: the restaurant employee whose life was changed after being given a ridiculously huge tip!

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One such story happened recently in NYC, reports Gothamist, when a waitress at a Times Square restaurant was given a $3,000 tip on a $43 bill. (In case you didn’t want to do the math, yes, that’s well over 20%, so he’s in the clear.) The tip was left by one of the restaurant’s regulars named Mike, and was intended “to help combat an eviction notice that the [waitress] was recently served.”

But Mike’s act of kindness wasn’t exactly random—it was part of something bigger.

Even more sweet, the gesture was inspired by Mike’s 8th grade science teacher, who began an organization called ReesSpechtLife following a personal tragedy.

The organization is a pay it forward-themed movement that began after the science teacher’s “22-month-old son drowned in the family’s backyard just two days before Hurricane Sandy struck.”

“Then we went through the storm and lost our power for two weeks and it was a nightmare on top of a nightmare,” Specht told Yahoo Parenting. But after friends, family and even strangers reached out to help, Specht knew he wanted to take action. “If we couldn’t pay it back we’d pay it forward.”

After a few rounds of pay it forward, here we are. Specht’s friends and family inspired him. He inspired Mike. And now Mike has inspired an unidentified waitress. No pressure, unidentified waitress, but this chain is counting on you.

Images via Twitter.


Contact the author at bobby@jezebel.com.