Humanity’s Alive and Giving: A $1,075 Tip for a $29.30 Bill*
By Kathryn Schroeder
Waitress Khadijah Muhammad was shocked when she discovered the tip someone left her on a $29.30 bill.
“I just remember seeing a comma after the one and knew it wasn’t $10. And I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’” Muhammad said. “And I just lost my balance and I was like, ‘Does this say a thousand dollars?’ I could not believe it.”
The tip was for $1,075.
Muhammad works at Cheddar’s in Knoxville, TN and the 3,669% tip could not have come at a better time for the struggling waitress.
Recently, Muhammad had to take multiple days off after her mother suffered a heart attack in Ohio. Her mother is doing fine, but Muhammad returned home from Ohio to a pile of unpaid bills, the Huffington Post reports.
The Knoxville Utilities Board left a sign on her doorknob, warning her that the electricity would be turned off if she did not pay her bill by January 23, reports the NY Daily News.
“I was thinking I’m really going to need a miracle to pay my bills this month,” Muhammad said.
The miracle she needed came in the form of one very generous family.
But she originally thought they had stiffed her.
“Normally as a server, when a receipt is turned upside down it means you did not get a good tip or any tip. Or people will leave a nasty note about how you messed something up with their service,” Muhammad said. “I remember thinking, ‘I wonder what I did wrong.’ Then I picked it up and I just was in shock.”
The family wrote on the back on the receipt, “Jesus has blessed us and we were led to give it to you. God bless!”
The family has requested to remain anonymous but they did speak with WBIR.
“When we walked into Cheddar’s we had no idea that we were going to do that,” the family told WBIR. “God put it on my heart after your amazing service.”
Muhammad is now determined to pay it forward.
“I hope and pray that someday I’m able to do this for somebody. And at the first opportunity I will do it,” Muhammad said.
By Lily Dane
This is Eric.
I met him last year when I worked in Newport News, Virginia. Almost every day, he rode his bike to the shopping center where my office was located.
Eric spent several hours per day sitting on the curb in the parking lot behind the coffee shop. He usually held signs that asked for money or food, depending on what his particular needs were that day.
I said hello to Eric every day, and often stopped to give him a few dollars. Sometimes I gave him food, bottles of water, or coffee.
One day I had a little extra time, and decided to go out and strike up a conversation with him. I asked him what his story was…where he slept at night, if he had any family in the area, and what kind of help he needed.
Eric said he’d been trying to find a job for a long time, and described the vicious cycle that tends to trap people who are homeless. He said that even fast food restaurants repeatedly turned him down for employment. Eric told me that one manager said, “Why would we hire a homeless man?” He explained that he was willing to work hard and just needed someone to give him a chance. She kicked him out of the restaurant.
I asked him if he stayed in shelters at night. He said that women and children are priorities (and said he agreed with that policy), so he usually slept outside. Eric often saved up money people gave him to stay in hotels when the weather was particularly harsh.
Sometimes he got lucky, and an especially generous stranger would offer to pay to put him in a hotel room for a night or two.
Eric always struck me as a kindhearted and caring man. He always expressed gratitude for even the smallest donation. He said hello to everyone who passed by. They often say the eyes are the window to the soul. Eric’s seemed to be filled with kindness and hope, in spite of his dire situation.
About a week ago, I started hearing people talk about a video of a homeless man who was given a winning lottery ticket for $1,000.
Today, after seeing it appear in my Facebook feed several times, I finally watched the video.
Imagine my surprise when I recognized the homeless man in the video.
“That’s Eric! THE Eric!”
YouTube prankster and magician Magic of Rahat had heard that Eric was “nice and respectable”, so he wanted to help him out.
Rahat approached Eric and told him he didn’t have any money to give him, but wanted to give him a lottery ticket instead.
But the lottery ticket wasn’t really a winner – and Rahat knew that. He asked a convenience store clerk to go along with his plan – which was to let Eric think he won $1,000.
Rahat and Eric went to the convenience store together to check the numbers.
Watch the video to see what happened next:
As soon as the clerk handed Eric the cash, he turned to Rahat and said “I would like to share it.”
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I never, never had a friend, had somebody do what you just did back there,” Eric told Rahat.
Critics have asked Rahat why he didn’t just simply hand Eric the $1,000. To that, Rahat said:
“I wanted to create a moment of magic with him winning the lottery. I could’ve just went up to him and gave him $1000, but I wanted to do it in a unique way.”
Rahat has started a fundraising campaign to help Eric get back on his feet.
If you would like to donate, you can do so here: Eric’s Fundraising
Stories like these help restore a little of my faith in humanity. Is is easy to sit back and judge those who are less fortunate, and perhaps make assumptions about the choices that may have led them to their situation. But in reality, with the current state of the economy, any of us could end up homeless like Eric.
In the end, all we really have is each other.