A 17-year-old boy in Virginia, USA, was offended and humiliated by rude remarks that eventually went viral. The young man made the decision to respond to the woman and the establishment in the best way he knew how.
The best thing is? Nobody could have predicted such a surreal turn of events, and she couldn’t have seen it coming. Now, everyone on earth was observing everything she did. How did she respond?
When you’re a teenager, paying for yourself when eating out is a significant accomplishment. When you’ve eventually accumulated enough to buy a treat for yourself or some of your friends, you hardly give any thought to how that money was earned and in what shape it comes in.
The payment can be made with plastic, paper, or coins depending on the situation. Despite not thinking about it, this young man was about to make an embarrassing mistake.
A 17-year-old boy named Cohen Naulty was involved in this case. His senior year of high school was spent working as a waiter for work experience, as many students do.
His extra income came from working as a waiter so that he could do what he liked in life. The course he was taking would forever change his life, but he was unaware of it.
Since Cohen worked as a waiter, he usually got his money from tips, which were often in small change. It was mostly quarters that Cohen received as gratuity. So what was he supposed to do?
In order to spend his money, Cohen would need to make numerous trips to the bank on top of every shift. However, he preferred to spend his money with friends by going out to eat. Having experienced what happened, he might consider reconsidering spoiling others.
Because he had finally accumulated a sizable cache of coins, Cohen was confident that he could take some buddies out and leave a generous tip.
Rather than the meal itself, controversy arose over the quarters he used to pay for it. The kind act he performed did not anticipate the negative feedback it would cause.
It didn’t take long for things to fall apart after a delightful pub lunch with friends. It was just an accident that Cohen came across the critical post.
The waitress, who clearly had a strong sense of entitlement, wrote it. This post contains Cohen’s bill and the quarters he used to pay, along with a disparaging comment.
It was too late by the time Cohen noticed the Facebook post. Every person who knew him witnessed it as well. His feelings erupted in an uncontrollable flood.
It broke his heart to learn that a waitress at his favorite establishment had posted something negative about him on Facebook. Was there anything specific about what the obnoxious waitress wrote that caused such a stir? Would she be able to get away with it?
By nature, Cohen was a non-agitator and was a gentle soul. He initially refrained from crying. He was furious as he read the waitress’ outrageous remarks, though. How could she!
He got angry when he realized they had made fun of his mother as well. We’ll just caption this,” the post’s opening line read. There was more to it than “How NOT to pay at a restaurant.” The worst had yet to happen.
The waitress continued her post, “cause that’s the nicest thing we can think to say about this ridiculousness.” The hashtags were what really started to shame the young man, even though the post would be embarrassing for any customer.
#nohometraining was intended as a direct jab at Cohen, suggesting that his parents failed to raise him properly. Cohen wasn’t going to accept this without a fight. As he planned, a weird calmness descended upon him. The unsavory waitress and the restaurant were in for a shock.
Cohen gave his strategy for getting even much thought. In order to work, one would need to be dedicated and diligent. More than just small-scale retaliation was now what he sought. He would go a step further, though.
The waitress at Beer 88, in particular, was going to be held responsible. They would never anticipate it. It would be amazing. But then, something strange took place. Cohen was aware that it would be to his advantage.
Posting anything negative online is just never a good look for any company. Once the general public started reading it, they were not shy to tell Beer 88 just how inappropriate their little in-house joke was. The community began to rally for Cohen. And it wasn’t long before the restaurant took notice.
Beer 88 was quick to take down the offending post because once it started getting negative reviews, they just kept coming. But they weren’t quite quick enough because Cohen had already taken a screenshot and posted it to his own page. Little did they know, he was plotting his personal revenge.
When Cohen saw the comments flooding in from Facebook users and former patrons of Beer 88, he almost laughed. He knew that he could sit back and let the restaurant feel the wrath of the community that was clearly on his side.
After all, they had it coming. But would all the backlash from incensed patrons and Facebook users be enough of a rude awakening for the restaurant?
Any normal teenager, or, in fact, any adult, would probably take this opportunity to complain and moan about how embarrassed and angry they felt by being targeted on social media like this. But not Cohen.
He simmered quietly and made a plan. His revenge was far, far sweeter. Cohen had a novel idea, and he wasted no time setting it in motion.
It wasn’t long before local news outlets caught wind of Cohen’s story. He was inundated by interviews, and he stood by his actions and his revenge.
“It’s just U.S. currency. I’m allowed to use it. It’s not illegal. I’m not doing anything wrong,” he told WSET. So, what did he decide to do about it?
“They said we didn’t have any home training,” said one of Naulty’s friends to WSET. “That was dirty. That was one of their hashtags was #nohometraining… we couldn’t believe they posted it on Facebook,” one of his friends said to WSET.
“If anybody met Cohen, they know it couldn’t be farthest things from the truth,” Kim Naulty, Cohen’s mother, told WSET. “And, you know, he’s a good kid.” But soon, everyone would know just what kind of person Cohen really was…
‘The Quarter Boy’, in honor of the quarters he pays with, decided to take the high road. He did not shame the restaurant or his server from Beer 88 that day, he did something far better.
He was intent on turning the awful negative experience into something positive for everyone, including himself. He didn’t even mention the restaurant by name… They’d dug their own social media grave on this one. What he said was simple and inspiring.
“Took a few friends out to lunch and only had enough to pay for their meals in quarters. I was blasted on FaceBook by the restaurant for paying in quarters. It was not a good day,” he wrote.
“Then I had a great idea. I love paying for people’s meals even if I have to scrape together my last quarters to do so.” This whole drama made Cohen realize just how much he loves buying people food and, more importantly, why. So why is Cohen so inspired?
His post continues, and soon the genius behind what he is asking for is revealed, “Paying for someone’s meal can change a really bad day around in just one moment of kindness.”
“I would like to keep this going and make it fun. I am sure there are places out there that wouldn’t mind being paid in quarters, and perhaps you can help me out by donating a little to help me pay for their meals!”
Cohen’s incredible idea was to set up a charity campaign. He then started a fund-raiser on his own FaceBook page to collect donations, all to be used to buy strangers a surprise meal.
“We will use 100% of the donations to pay for others’ meals and post videos of their reactions! If you would like to be part of my mission, donate here!”
“If you are a restaurant that wouldn’t mind a register filled with quarters at the end of the night and a special treat for one of your patrons now and then, please post,”
“…so I know who I won’t offend by coming by,” Cohen added. And, sure enough, there were plenty of restaurants that weren’t about to snub Cohen and his small change.
The fund-raiser took on a life of its own with people donating money, leaving comments, and complimenting the decisions made by the generous young man. One poster left a message on his page.
“I’m so proud of you for putting so much good into the world. If there would only be more people like you, the world would be a more peaceful, trustworthy, and happy place.” And the money wasn’t bad either!
When the fundraiser came to its completion, Cohen had raised a total of $10,148.00. He took none of the money for himself, instead sticking to his initial goal of helping others.
He still buys food for people, but he does other things with his quarters too. “Had an awesome time filling up the coin laundry for some sweet folks today!” So do all the restaurants really hate being paid in coins?
Well, no, they don’t. Money is, after all, money. Some restaurants even supported Cohen’s campaign with their own donations — some donated money, others — pizza.
You can also often see posts of Cohen walking around supermarkets giving out some gift vouchers. Other than his huge heart, there is one other thing that makes him so well supported by his community…
A local TV company did a story about Cohen Naulty’s campaign, and he kept up his own media presence by cleverly videoing all of his food giveaways.
He has treated kids and couples, policemen and students, the homeless and the hungry, and there is no end in sight to what he will do next.
Cohen never once thought that his actions would have such a great impact on everyone that read about his mission. His motivation never was to become popular…
But his kindness has ensured that he made his way into people’s hearts. Everyone is rooting for him, and why not? It’s a welcome relief to see people making a positive difference in the world today. As for his revenge?
His revenge is what most people truly need in this day and age; the ability to let go and grow. Beer 88 could learn a few things from Cohen, especially when looking at their attitude toward their paying customers. They later released an apology.
They wrote: “It was posted as a joke, intended as a joke, and should be taken as a joke,” but totally ruined any real apology when saying that paying in coins is “annoying to people that work in the restaurant/retail industry.”
“We try to keep our page funny and relatable, and had no idea that this would be offensive to anyone,” the apology continued.
Still rather rude when the boy left a $10 tip on a $20 bill!
Cohen decided that his habit had given him much more in life than many other things. So he decided to ramp it up. He started intentionally buying small items with large notes just so he could get pennies back.
While his family and friends wondered why he knew exactly what his end goal was. And it would gain a lot of attention.
Cohen originally paid in pennies because that was all he had. The generous boy even left a large tip. But now, it had become an obsession. He was intentionally getting change everywhere he went so he could collect as many pennies as possible.
He would have plans for everything. He just had to be patient and save as many as he could. It would all pay off.
Cohen even went as far as to start refusing to spend any of his pennies. He started hoarding them in containers people would start calling him crazy for. It was one of the oddest things they’d seen in a long time.
His parents wondered why he’d asked them to start buying 5-gallon water jugs. But they’d soon wonder why once he started taking the empty containers to his room instead of recycling them.
Even though Cohen would do anything to get his hands on pennies, he still had rules around this new obsession. He would never take any charity from anyone. He would make sure that any pennies he took were paid for with notes.
But why was he collecting them? Soon his parents would find out the truth, and they’d be devastated.
Cohen couldn’t keep his secret forever. And one day, when his parents came into his room, they saw exactly what he had been doing all this time. They had no idea their son was capable of something like this.
They see where all of the pennies are going. But it seemed to raise more questions than answers.
His parents saw all of the water containers that they had bought now that they were empty. They sat in the corner of his room, but they weren’t empty anymore. All of the water was gone, but it was replaced with pennies.
They couldn’t believe the sheer amount that their son had collected. But the reason was even weirder.
They decided to wait for their son to get home so he could explain himself. After he arrived home from school, they asked him about what he had in his room. They needed an explanation.
Cohen nervously looked at his feet and started mumbling. They asked him to speak louder, so he told them exactly what was going on.
Cohen explained that ever since his Facebook page had gone so viral, he loved the rush. He started to collect pennies when he didn’t have to anymore. He would use his bank notes from his salary and exchange them for pennies.
But soon, his penny obsession got so intense that he had way too many. He had to think of a place to keep them.
The only logical place for him to keep his pennies was in large containers. And the cheapest he could think of were 5-gallon water jugs. But what would he do with them now that he had so many?
He told them what he wanted to do with them. It was a strange thing, but would they understand?
He told his parents that this was a kind of savings for him. That he wanted to be responsible for his own money and learn how to use it.
He thought the pennies would be good because they looked like a lot more when in heavy tubs.
But it wasn’t like he just had one or two 5-gallon containers. He had 5 of them! That was 25 gallons of pennies! But it didn’t end there. He would have to eventually do something with him, wouldn’t he?
A time would come when Cohen would decide that he had to downscale his obsession, but what would he do?
Cohen knew that he had to downscale his operation. It had gotten out of control, and he’d have to get them taken off of his hands. But where would he put them? He had to think of a way to get his money back.
He knew it wouldn’t be easy, but with a bit of effort, he’d be able to find a way through it. But was it too late?
Then it came to him. He jumped up and got ready. He went straight to the garage and looked for one essential piece of equipment. He just needed to find it now. He looked through all of the junk until he saw it sticking out.
He grabbed it and pulled. It was heavy, but he was motivated to make it work. Now he just had to load the bottles and be on his way.
He managed to load the 5-gallon containers onto his dad’s old trolley. It was old, and the wheels got stuck easily. But it was the only thing he had. He was motivated to get to the place he had to go.
But where was he going when he walked out of the door with a loaded trolley?
Cohen’s destination was, in fact, the bank. It was a short walk, and he knew that it was the only place willing to cash out all of his pennies. It was a hot summer day, and the trolley was heavily loaded.
Still, though, Cohen managed to get to the bank and made it to the front counter. The teller’s eyes went wide at the site of the sheer amount of pennies.
Cohen thought that the teller would judge him harshly, just like the waitress had months ago. But as soon as she looked at the bottles – she smiled. She laughed and told him it was the most interesting thing that had happened to her in a long time.
She was happy to help the young man and brought a smile to his face. Cohen couldn’t believe that someone was so nice to him.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.