The note brought tears to her eyes. She had never seen that kind of language left for any waitress – at least not to anyone she knew.
Her coworkers couldn’t believe it either. She scanned down the note, feeling a wave of emotions. But it was the very end that made her look twice.
Rosalynd Harris, 25, was working at the well-known Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C. during a busy week.
After all, the Woman’s March had only been a few days before as well as Trump’s inauguration. With the two conflicting groups in town, this cafe wasn’t a space you would expect three MAGA hats to appear.
Jason White and two of his friends walked into the eclectic cafe, sporting their Trump-supporting headwear.
They had driven hours to celebrate the election results and be part of any celebrations they could find. All of them were happily expressing their personal patriotism until they walked into the restaurant and the entire place went silent.
The discomfort from both sides was obvious. People glanced or stared at the group as they sat in Rosalynd’s section.
With a wave of nervousness, she put on her brightest smile, used the energy she had kept from the Women’s March, and prepared to take their order. But, were they there to start trouble?
It had been two days of opposing ideas, and it was charged with that current political climate. There weren’t only external forces at work that day.
Rosalynd was struggling to make ends meet, dancing, going to school, and taking on extra shifts so she could move. There was no choice but to hand them their menus.
She kept her gleaming smile and greeted them like she would with any other customer.
She asked, “Can I get you something to drink?” When they answereed, she also noticed something else. They were from somewhere in the South.
They replied at how they weren’t from around there. They actually came up from Texas.
She brightly commented she could tell. Jason asked for her menu recommendations since they didn’t have places cafes like that in his area. Her favorite was the avocado panini. He replied he would try it. So far so good?
Jason also asked about the location’s history. It was a place with thick Liberal leanings, minority uplifting, and the celebration of African American artists.
She happily answered all of his questions, also explaining the origin of the establishment’s name, and then went about her duties. She had no idea that in one hour, something would happen.
The group finished their meal then gave their polite thank-yous and goodbyes. They exited and the encounter was finally over.
As she cleaned up the table, Rosalynd thought about how she had misjudged them and felt a twinge of guilt. She picked up the bill and noticed something written on it. It was a message to her.
Aside from a long, heartfelt note, Jason had left her a $450 tip.
With a meal cost of $72.60, it had gone above and beyond the standard 20%. It was a whopping 625%! Rosalynd stared at the piece of paper, hardly breathing. But more than the money, it was the words he left behind.
“We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people…
…Not race. Not gender. Just American. God Bless.” But the powerful effects didn’t stop there. There was so much more.
According to Rosalynd, the gesture did several things for her. First, the money would go towards moving costs and took a heavy weight off her shoulders.
Second, and more importantly, she said it made her re-evaluate her own prejudices and perspectives. It wasn’t about Democrats, Liberals, or Republicans anymore. But what did Jason think?
After the cafe posted the bill on social media, one news station tracked down the Texan dentist and arranged interviews as well as a Facetime reunion with Rosalynd.
It was warm smiles and greetings, like two old friends seeing each other after a long time apart. He also had another uplifting message to add.
“It’s not about a white Trump supporter giving a generous tip to a black waitress. It’s about an American being generous to another American.”
Earlier, he had also been moved when he watched the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. To him, the steps they took were important in a very special way.
They take the same twenty-one steps no matter who is in office.
The final act of inspiration he had received was of a happy, smiling waitress that had served them with kindness even though they were very different. The number was also symbolic to him – $450 for the forty-fifth president in office.