Shaina Brown, a 26-year-old Waffle House waitress and a single mom, had to hold back from screaming with joy when a Good Samaritan left her a $1,000 tip on Mother’s Day.
Then, in the weeks that followed, she had to hold back from screaming in frustration when Waffle House wouldn’t let her keep the money because of the restaurant chain's policy about large tips.
Her disappointment continued for nearly a month until the generous tipper got wind of the situation and came through for her a second time — this time via a personal check for $1,000 made out directly to Brown. In the wake of the flap, Waffle House issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon apologizing for the incident and saying that it will be reviewing its tipping procedures in order to “get tips to our associates quicker in these unusual situation(s).”
The saga began when Brown was working a 10-hour night shift at a Waffle House in Raleigh, North Carolina. A customer came into the restaurant with some friends late on May 11, and he got to chatting with Brown. He was impressed and moved by her story.
“I told him I was a single parent, three children, working two jobs, going to school, doing what I have to do,” Brown told TODAY.com. “And he told me, ‘Shaina, I’m going to bless you tonight.’ At first I didn’t get the weight of the statement. I thought he was joking around.”
But it was no joke: When the man used his credit card to pay his bill, he added in a tip for $1,500. He told Brown that $1,000 was meant for her and $500 was for another woman in the restaurant who seemed like she could use a boost.
“I didn’t shout for joy right then because I didn’t want to seem all dorky,” Brown said. “But I did after he left!