Anonymous Customer Leaves Waitresses $15,000 Tip

Three waitresses spending their downtime on a slow, snowy Saturday folding silverware and talking about “life stuff” like bills, college and student loans got the answer to their prayers when a diner handed them each a check for $5,000.

Anonymous Customer Leaves Waitresses $15,000 Tip
Good Morning America/Courtesy Boone County Family Restaurant –

Amber Kariolich, Amy Sabani and Sarah Seckinger were working their shift at the Boone County Family Restaurant in Caledonia, Ill., Saturday when a middle-aged woman eating an omelet alone at the counter asked them their names.

A few moments later, the woman handed them each a check written out to them individually and indicated she had overheard their conversation.

“She presented it to us and said to put it in our pockets and use it for school or whatever we needed,” Seckinger, 21, told “All three of us just started crying.”

Seckinger says she and her coworkers had been discussing Kariolich’s school loans and Seckinger’s dream to go back to school to finish her final semester of a criminal justice degree.

“I stopped school to go to work,” said Secking, who has worked at the restaurant for six years.

Amber Kariolich, Amy Sabani and Sarah Seckinger

Kariolich, who was the waitress serving the woman that day, has worked at the restaurant for 10 years and Sabana for nearly two years.

The woman quickly left the family-run restaurant after handing over the checks, but not before arguing with their insistence that she not pay the bill on her $9 omelet.

The restaurant’s owner, Matt Nebiu, called the bank after the woman, whom Nebiu says has dined there before but is not a regular, to confirm that the checks are real.

“They said there was no hold on the checks,” Nebiu said. “We are in a small population of a town and we’ve been here for 30-some years and for people to do that you know that there’s nice people out there.”

“It was very generous,” he said.

Seckinger said she plans to use the money to finish her degree and says she and her coworkers still cannot believe their luck.

“It’s still surreal,” she said.



  1. The kindness of strangers who reach out to help never fails to amaze me. What a blessing for those young women. I have no doubt they will do something equally meaningful for the strangers they’ll meet in the years ahead.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of generosity. The woman who wrote the checks changed the course of life for these women and countless untold others. That ROCKS!

    Be a Blessing,
    Nancy ~ Bead Charmer Girl


    1. Thank you for this lovely comment, Nancy. You’re *so* right, the effects of Kindness are deep and travel in all directions, benefiting many others.

      We’ve seen this so many times whilst managing the blog and witnessing the HUGE amount of Kindness going on out there in the world! It makes us very happy! πŸ™‚

      Best, Mike.


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