A struggling waitress in Tennessee got a reprieve from her mounting bills in the nick of time from generous strangers who left her a $1,075 tip.
Knoxville waitress Khadijah Muhammad's fateful bill was one for just $29.30, for a small meal she served to a couple and their young son on Jan. 22 — the same day she had received a disconnection notice from her local utility for not having paid her bill, Knoxville's NBC affiliate WBIR reported.
"They really did not stand out. They were just nice folks," Muhammad recalled of the generous couple she served at Cheddar's recently, along with their young child.
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"I remember talking to them and having a friendly conversation like you would with a neighbor. The father ordered a country steak. The mother and son split a fish taco. They split it. They were really humble people," she told WBIR.
When she came to the table at the end of the family's meal to pick up their check, she found the receipt turned upside down.
"Normally as a server, when a receipt is turned upside down it means you did not get a good tip or any tip. Or people will leave a nasty note about how you messed something up with their service. I remember thinking, 'I wonder what I did wrong.' Then I picked it up and I just was in shock," Muhammad said.
As it turned out, she hadn't done anything wrong.
"I just remember seeing a comma after the one and knew it wasn't $10. And I was like, 'Oh, my God!' And I just lost my balance and I was like, 'Does this say a thousand dollars?' I could not believe it," she told WBIR.
The tip came accompanied by a note explaining the family's generosity: "Jesus has blessed us & we were led to give it to you! God bless!"
Muhammad was especially touched by the gesture because it came just as she was struggling to pay her bills, after having had to take time off work to visit her mother, who had suffered a heart attack, she said.
And Muhammad, who spends much of her time serving food to homeless people when not waitressing, told the station she was humbled by the generous tip and intended to show the same kind of selflessness to somebody else.
"I'm humbled. I'm grateful. I do believe that God led you to me at this time in my life," she said of her tippers. "I hope and pray that someday I'm able to do this for somebody. And at the first opportunity I will do it."