Faith In Humanity Restored: NYC Waitress Gets $3,000 Tip On $43.50 Bill As A ‘Pay It Forward’ Gesture

In the era of Facebook and Twitter, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the awful, sobering day-to-day news stories that pop up from around the globe: Thousands of lives lost in an earthquake in Nepal. Violence in Baltimore. Etc. But stories like this will lift your spirits for just a second and think about what it truly means to pay-it-forward.

According to Good Morning America, a patron named “Mike” (not his real name since he wanted to remain anonymous) at a restaurant in Times Square recently overheard a waitress talking about how she was recently served an eviction notice. So he left her a massive tip to pay-it-forward: $3000 on a $43.50 check, which is about 7000%. Via Good Morning America:

“This woman had been serving us for almost a year now. She’s a lovely individual, and she talked about how she was served an eviction notice last month,” Mike, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC News. “I just had also been constantly thinking about for quite some time my teacher’s project and this foundation, and I thought it was an appropriate time.”

The foundation Mike is referring to is one dedicated to the idea of paying-it-forward. It was started by his former science teacher, Rich Specht:

The foundation he is referring to is “ReesSpecht Life,” a pay-it-forward movement started by his eighth grade science teacher Rich Specht after Specht’s 22-month-old son died in a tragic drowning accident.

In response to his death, Specht and his wife started a pay-it-forward foundation to thank everyone who helped them after their son Richard Edwin-Ehmer Specht’s (nicknamed Rees) funeral.

“We wanted to pay them back, and no one would take anything in return. We thought, ‘if no one will let us pay it back, we’ll pay it forward,’” Specht told ABC News.

“Mike” elaborated on the gesture to GMA:

“I met Mr. Specht in eighth grade — I was his science student – and he’s an incredible human being. To see something so horrible happen to him … it doesn’t surprise me that he would start a foundation out of something so horrible that would juts continue to keep good around and to keep wonderful things going,” Mike said. “It was heartwrenching for me to see it happen. I had been trying to pay it forward and this was just a big opportunity for me to be able to honor someone that’s so wonderful.”

To help the waitress with her rent, Mike settled on $3,000 since Manhattan rents are so high.

“She really needed it and has been so happy since then, so I feel I did the right thing,” he said. “She said she was going to devote herself to the foundation and continue to pay it forward.”


Paying it forward is the definition of a Bro move. Good on you, Mike. And the rents in New York are too damn high.

[H/T: Gothamist]

Brandon Wenerd avatar
BroBible's publisher and a founding partner, circa 2009. Brandon is based in Los Angeles, where he oversees BroBible's partnership team and other business development activities. He still loves to write and create content, including subjects related to internet culture, food, live music, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Philly sports, and adventures of all kinds. Email: