A waiter in Madison, Wisconsin, was surprised to find restaurant customers had refused to tip him this past Sunday night. Instead, they left a homophobic note on the receipt that read, “Service was good but we don’t tip sinful homosexuals.”
However, the waiter was even more surprised by a $4,500 tip made possible by hundreds of strangers.
Eric Salzwedel is a co-founder of Do Good Wisconsin, an organization that aims to spread ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ across the state of Wisconsin.
On Monday, Salzwedel told his Facebook followers a photo of the receipt had been sent to him by a friend of the waiter. In the image, the total amount of the bill, $142.95, was clearly visible as was the hateful message.
“This just happened here in Madison at a local restaurant,” Salzwedel wrote. “Even though I probably will not know who wrote this and instead of writing a lot more about this person, here is what I want to do: BRING ON THE #VENMOCHALLENGE!”
He went on to share the organization’s VENMO and PayPal info promising “100% of anything sent will be given to the server.”
Salzwedel added, “We know unfortunately this $ won’t change some people’s behaviors, but hopefully it will show the amount of ❤️ there is for this server!”
Over the next 36 hours, donations of $5, $10, $20 poured in from about 250 people.
And per his plan, Salzwedel went to the restaurant on Tuesday evening, specifically requested the waiter to be his server, and left a $4,500 tip on the bill.
He posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook along with a note that read, “To the folks who felt it was necessary to write this hateful note and not tip…don’t worry me and about 250 others will cover the tip for you. #LoveTrumpsHate #BeKind”
“This really upset me that someone would do something like this,” Salzwedel told local news station Channel3000. “To go to the extent of saying it was good service, but because of their sexual orientation, they decided not to give them a tip.”
“As you may expect they were surprised from the tip and extremely grateful,” he added.
While the server didn’t want to be identified, Salzwedel shared he was “extremely grateful for all those who chipped in” to do the right thing.
On the group’s Facebook page, Salzwedel shares they are two weeks into their “Do Good Tour” of Wisconsin with plans to stop in numerous cities and towns between now and the end of September.
Some of their random acts of kindness, which they encourage others to do, include renting a couple of RedBox movies, slipping a bill in the DVD case with a nice note, and returning the movie so the next person who rents it will get a surprise.
Amid the barrage of bleak news these days, it’s a fresh change of pace to see people making an effort to do good.