Man Pays It Forward With A 7000% Tip To Waitress

Receipt tip
  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • May 01, 2015 at 11:35 AM

A New York man has tipped his local waitress US$3000 on a $43.50 bill after finding out that she was going through a tough time.

The man – who wishes to remain anonymous and is known only as “Mike” in the media – told ABC News in the US that he was inspired by his eight grade teacher, who had set up a pay-it-forward foundation called ReesSpecht Life.

“This woman had been serving us for almost a year now. She’s a lovely individual, and she talked about how she was served an eviction notice last month,” he says.

“I just had also been constantly thinking about for quite some time my teacher’s project and this foundation, and I thought it was an appropriate time.”

Former teacher Rich Specht set up the ReesSpecht Life Foundation after his soon, Rees, died in a drowning accident. He says it started as a way to say thank you to everyone that had helped him and his wife after the death.

“When my wife and I set out to form ReesSpecht Life, we did so with a mission to honor our little boy’s brief life and pay back the kindness of those people who rushed to our aid in our time of need,” he says in a blog post about the big tip.

Mike had been Specht’s student around the time Rees passed away, and says the circumstances faced by this waitress felt like a “big opportunity for me to be able to honor someone that’s so wonderful.”

So he wrote a note on the back of his receipt for the waitress, explaining why he’d left such a big tip:

“Thank you for your kindness and humility.  My teacher in middle school had such a difficult experience a few years ago which has sparked me to do this.  My only requirements are:
1) Go to and learn!
2) Don’t let “Pay it forward” end with you.
3) Since it’s about the idea and not about you, or me, if you decide to share this, don’t use either of our names!”
Thank you for being around for all of my shows on and off Broadway.  I hope that someday someone gives as much love and happiness into the world as you do.”

The waitress got in touch with Rich Specht and the ReesSpecht Life Foundation, sharing a photo of the front and back of the receipt. It’s since gone viral and has led to more awareness of the foundation.

Specht says he is touched by the number of acts of kindness he hears about that are “performed in Rees’ name”, and blown away by the fact that Mike was so inspired by him when they had class together all those years ago.

“I guess it all really comes back to kindness. Some things just cannot be measured, yet that does not mean we can’t identify it when we see it,” he says.

“We all know who the “good” teachers in our lives were because they were the ones who made a difference to us. Those people who took the time to go that extra step to ensure we understood their message. Those teachers were the pillars of respect… accepting that we are all different, yet taking our commonality, our humanity, our compassion and kindness and using it to make us feel special and unique.”

Images: The receipt and note, source: ReesSpecht Life on Twitter; screenshot of the ReesSpecht Life website.

ReesSpecht Life

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