Waitress gives friend and co-worker all her tip money when friend doesn’t make enough during shift to pay babysitter

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*

For many years I worked at a very busy family-owned restaurant in town and made some great friends with the other waitresses while I was there.

There was one particular young woman, Suzy, who was quite the character. She was the nicest and most kind person I’d ever met, to humans, animals, and plants alike. She turned her house and yard into a thriving homestead with some goats, chickens, a single milking cow, and her beloved horse, Juno who all roamed free through her garden oasis.

My old roommate and friend, Todd, had gone to high school with Suzy years and years earlier and had a funny story to tell about her. Apparently, Todd was floating in his backyard pool one day when he saw Suzy emerge from the tree line of his property on horseback.

“What are you doing?” He asked her.

“I have to move her from her old barn to my house and didn’t want to have to pay to use a trailer. Just thought this would be easier,” she explained and carried on through his yard.

At the time I worked with Suzy, my daughter Tori was in elementary school, and as a single mom, I obviously couldn’t leave her alone while I worked so needed to always have a babysitter at the ready.

My parents would sometimes help out and watch Tori for me during my weekend breakfast shifts, but when I worked the slower weeknights, I would often have to pay my friend Joy to babysit for me, and she demanded ten dollars an hour for her services.

As her friend, it was hard for me to hand over so much money to her every day I went to work. I would slave away on my feet for hours, sometimes lucky to make a at least hundred dollars during a shift, and have to give more than half of it to Joy. Joy, who was paid to basically sit on my couch and watch television with my daughter, and make her dinner.

One winter night I was summoned to work even though I knew it would be dead in the restaurant because a moderate amount of snow was falling. When it snows, most people tend to stay home and cook dinner themselves. I was already unhappy to be there, knowing I’d probably have to give more than half of my tip money to Joy, but I was beside myself when I counted my money at the end of the night and hadn’t even made enough in tips to pay my babysitter.

I sat in a booth with my cash in my hands and burst into tears.

“What’s wrong?” Suzy asked as she had been sitting in the booth across from me counting her own tip money at the end of the shift.

“I didn’t even make enough tonight to pay my babysitter,” I cried. “I’m going to have to stop at the ATM on the way home and take out more money to pay her.”

“No, Mary,” she said with such concern and compassion in her voice. “Here,” she said, sliding her pile of tip money across the table to me.

“Please, take it,” Suzy said. “You need it more than me.”

I started sobbing, I could not believe her kindness, and felt so uncomfortable taking her charity.

“No, Suzy, I can’t, you need it, too,” I said.

“But not as much as you do tonight,” she said. “Please. I insist. See? I’m not giving you a choice!” She said with a laugh and jumped up from the booth and ran away.

“Suzy,” I tried calling after her, but she grabbed her coat and purse and rushed out to her car before I could stop her.

As grateful as I was for what Suzy did for me that night, I have to admit I was deeply ashamed for being in that situation to begin with. It’s hard being needy. Nevertheless, Suzy didn’t once bring up or mention the gift she gave me, not to me or anyone else. She didn’t boast of her generosity, she didn’t expect a million thank you’s.

She was just a wonderful person who was in my life at the exact right time, and wherever she is now, I hope she is doing well.

Comments / 22

Published by

I write about the weird complexities of relationships to make a better life for me and my daughter through words. https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan

Connecticut State

More from Mary Duncan

Comments / 0