Waitress given life-changing tip, told ‘keep the change, Merry Christmas’

Customers have smiled and told Destiny Richie to keep the change before, but never has the 30-year-old waitress at The Blue Berry Cafe in Bellbrook had so much change to keep.

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“At the end of their meal, they handed me $1,000 (concealed in the black bill folder),” Richie said Monday of the surprise gesture Saturday, Dec. 14. “They said, ‘keep the change, Merry Christmas’.”

Richie, a Blue Berry Cafe employee since January and waitress for 14 years, didn’t know what she had been handed when she walked away from the table of 10.

Credit: Destiny Gordon

Credit: Destiny Gordon

Richie said the group left before she counted the money and realized that such a large tip was left on the $160 bill.

The group’s kindness made a major impact on her life, Richie told this news organization Monday.

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Richie said she and her husband have been struggling to get back on track since a teen driver caused an accident that totaled one of their vehicles two years ago.

Multiple transportation mishaps have compounded their financial pressures, she said.

“We have literally been in a hole ever since,” the Bellbrook resident said.

The goodwill gesture Saturday was at least the second time this holiday season that a group has surprised unexpected servers with large lumps of cash.

A group of 14 area residents who call themselves the “Breakfast Santas” left a $1,400 tip for the two waitresses that served them at the Beavercreek Bob Evans on Friday.

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Vicki Giambrone, that group's organizer, told us Friday that she was inspired to act after seeing a Facebook post about a similar effort in another community.

Credit: Destiny Richie

Credit: Destiny Richie

Sarah Gordon of Bellbrook, the organizer of the unrelated group that tipped Richie, said she was also inspired to act by a Facebook post.

It was not immediately clear if the two groups were inspired by the same Facebook post.

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Gordon said she could have left a tip on her own, but knew it could make a bigger impact if more people were involved.

She invited friends to join in the giving.

“It was amazing to be able to bless some who could benefit through the holidays,” Gordon said.

Richie, mother of two kids ages 11 and 3, said the money truly came in handy.

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Her husband Justin Richie drives about 45 minutes to get to work.

“I always worry if he will arrive to work safely,” Richie said.

Some of the money has already been used on bills. The rest will be used toward much-needed repairs to the couple’s vehicles.

The Breakfast Santas are planning other outings this holiday season.

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Gordon and friends likewise are not done.

“We are planning to do it again next year and throughout the year,” she said.

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