Waiter Frustrated With Teens Tipping Him Only $3.28, Later Finds Out Why

A Lot Of Hard Work

Waiting tables can be a thankless, underrated job. It can be grueling to keep customers satisfied but for some, it's their only source of income. Many servers have to depend on the kindness of their customers to make ends meet.


However, even if they go to the extent to make their customers happy there are some things that simply aren't in their hands. That's something this server experienced first hand.

It Doesn't Come Easy

Chefs might not want to listen to what the customers have to say when they've messed up, but servers don't have another choice. They have to listen and understand to each complaint.

It’s no wonder why so many servers get very upset when they don't receive a fair tip. This server was not too pleased when he only received a pitiful $3. But there was more to his story than meets the eye.

A Can-Do Attitude

Seminole, a Reddit user, knows the trials and troubles of working in hospitality. He was already used to the industry. But if there's something everyone does, it's sympathize with those who depend on the long hours and minimum wages in order to survive. 

The work was difficult and at times it was nerve-wracking, but Seminole made an effort to always stay positive. However, one day he experienced something that made him decide that enough was enough.

Always Keep Smiling

Seminole wasn't earning enough and was struggling to pay his rent. Yet he still tried his best to make sure that the customers in his section would walk away smiling.

His day had gone by quickly, and he was lucky enough not to have a confrontational customer. But that quickly changed. As he was busy cleaning a dirty table, he noticed that there was a note on it. He let out a heavy sigh. If they had an issue, why didn’t they say so? But then he read it, and things quickly changed.

A Puppy Adoption

For the last few years, Seminole has been settled in Miami. It was there that he met his girlfriend. Things between the two were moving fast, and before he knew it, they decided to adopt a puppy. 

Seminole quickly fell in love with the lonely pup at the back of the kennel. When he first laid eyes on the dog, he had no idea what kind of troubles he'd be facing because of it.

Newfound Family

Seminole approached the cage, and to his astonishment, the puppy came forward and began to lick the wire. He saw its behavior as a sign, and before he knew it, the couple was at home taking selfies and sharing the fantastic news online. It was only a few days later when the police were knocking on his front door. 

The officers confronted Seminole about his new pet, confusing him. He was then told that he'd have to give his puppy up or there would be consequences to face.

Actions And Consequences

It turned out that some online user had seen the photos he and his girlfriend posted and called the police. Since he was pretty new to the area, Seminole didn't know it, but pit bulls were banned in Miami.

In Miami pit bulls- whether they're purebred or a mix- were considered "dangerous" and owning one was a crime.  And to his horror, Seminole would now have the suffer the consequeses of his decision to adopt one without knowing the laws.

No Other Choice

The police officers informed Seminole that there were two ways proceed- he could either pay a fine of $500 and give up his dog or he could face going to jail. But for Seminole there was actually only one option. He said "goodbye" to his new friend and the cash he'd worked so hard for.

Seminole was heartbroken by what had occurred, and the turn of events had left him fragile, but he still had to get back to work. So he put on a smile and returned to his duties.  But there was one group of customers that nearly had him crumbling.

Moving On

That night Seminole couldn't get any sleep. He was tossing and turning as the guilt of giving up his pet haunted him. By the time he arrived at work the next morning, he had bags under his eyes, and he was completely exhausted.

But he put on a brave face and continued with his daily tasks, being helpful and smiling as customers complained about their food and questioned their bills. What happened to him later that day, couldn't have come at a worse time.


Late Night Visit

The staff were preparing to close up for the night when a group of police officers arrived at the restaurant. The officers took their seats and ordered their drinks but closing time was slowly approaching and by the time it arrived most of the crew left. But Seminole decided to stay behind and serve the bunch. They eventually ordered their last round and requested the bill.

Even though the minimum tip was suggested on the receipt, it didn't amount to the work put in. But the minimum was better than nothing, and Seminole held onto the hope that the next day would be better. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side.


The next day dragged on. The terrible weather made it possible for customers to stay in instead of eating out. As the evening approached, things began to pick up. 

A group of four 13-year-olds sat in Seminole’s section. They smiled and joked amongst themselves, celebrating their homecoming. He exhaled. He didn’t like that sight. Not even a little bit.


Most teenagers were rude and obnoxious. He didn’t have the patience for that today. Thankfully, these teens were polite and respectful. 

Their cheerful demeanor began to rub off on him. As always, he did his best to make their dining experience a pleasant one. Then, a while after they sat at the table, they shared something that made him laugh.


To Seminole’s surprise, it was the group’s first time eating alone. Sure, they had gone out for dinner before but never without a chaperone. He laughed as they debated over the current cutlery to use. 

“Why are there so many forks?” He heard them whisper as he returned with their sodas. “You work from the inside out,” he shared as he took his notepad from his pocket. “Are you ready to order?” He never expected them to have so many questions.


“I actually have some allergies,” one of the girls explained. Seminole came to her side and went through the menu with her. 

“So, the number represents the food present in each dish,” he explained as he pointed at the end of the page. He went above and beyond to make the young group feel welcome and comfortable in the restaurant. However, he could have never predicted what was about to happen.

Big Shock

After giving some personal recommendations, Seminole managed to convince them to try his favorite suitable dishes. They were delighted with his genuine assistance. Once they finished their dishes, he placed the bill on their table, accompanied by some mints. 

They placed their notes on the receipt and left with smiles on their faces. When he returned to clear the table, he was shocked.

How Rude

To Seminole’s disgust, the teenagers only left a tip of $3.28, but their total bill was more than $100. He had gone above and beyond, checking with the chefs to ensure the dishes were safe for them to consume. 

They seemed to have enjoyed their meals and even thanked him before they left. How could they be so rude?


He was so disappointed. Against his best attempts, it managed to influence the rest of his day. For the rest of his shift, he remained visibly disappointed and grumpy.

Colleagues noticed his foul mood. Besides, to make things worse, the rest of the day’s tips weren't particularly good either. By the end, he managed to shake the experience until later that week.


Seminole had moved on from the unfair tip. But he struggled to let go of the memories of his friend. He arrived at work and expected it to be like any other, but there was something left behind the desk for him. The 2-page letter was addressed to him.

The cursive script was handwritten in blue ink and had $18 attached. Change shook in the envelope. He scanned through the type. Who left this? Once he began to read, he realized who it was.


“Dear Mr. Waiter,” they opened the letter. It didn’t take long for him to identify the sender. “You were the best waiter we could ask for. You were kind, helpful, accommodating, didn’t treat us like babies,” they shared.

He was sure it was the group of teenagers he had served earlier on in the week. Seminole’s heart began to warm. What a sweet and kind gesture! He continued to read the compliments.


“So I wanted to say thank you for making our ‘grown-up’ experience so amazing and fun. I would also like to say sorry on behalf of my group,” they continued.

“Since we were new to all this, our 13-year-old minds didn’t exactly know how to deal with the bill. You were super helpful in dividing the check up and taking our not-so-preferable cash.”


“The bill was reasonable, but we had completely forgotten (and frankly didn’t know) what a tip even was, let alone how much to give,” the kids explained on their note. 

“So we emptied our pockets, and all our money added up to $3.28. Not aware of how small this really was, we left, clueless of what we had left you for all your hard work.”


“Later, we realized our mistake and felt HORRIBLE. We knew we had to make it right. So in this envelope, you will find the correct 18% tip and extra for simply being amazing.”

“We appreciate your help and patience, and thank you for making our night fun. Thank you! – The four teenagers from that night,” the letter concluded.


Seminole found their letter endearing. Now, he was glad and proud of having done his best with the group of kids. He almost forgot about the measly tip they left.

Now, he finally got the full picture of the situation. Suddenly, the kids’ mistake seemed understandable and forgivable. They didn’t really know what they were doing, but they had done their best to correct it.


Everything suddenly made sense. The teens had not left the $3.28 tip due to their lack of appreciation. 

Instead, they got a bit carried away with themselves on their first solo dinner and forgot to keep track of their bill. It made total sense, considering they had never eaten at a restaurant or covered the bill by themselves.

They Tried Their Best

When the kids finally got the bill, they panicked at the price but tried their best nevertheless; they began rooting through their bags and pockets for anything they could find.

Every adult has made mistakes during their youth. Few go out of their way to make things right. Seminole was touched by their gesture. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Something Else Happened

The very next day, after they left their letter for Seminole, there was another surprise waiting for him. After a relatively slow afternoon, things were starting to get busier by dinnertime.

Seminole kept running from table to table. It was one of the most intense nights he could remember; also, most customers that night turned out to be generous tippers. But then, he saw someone walking through the door.

It Was Them Again

It was the same group of kids from some days ago! They had enjoyed their first dining experience so much that they wanted to repeat it.

Seminole couldn’t be happier to see them again. He thanked them for their note and praised their good manners and consideration. And once again, the kids ordered a $100 dinner and left an $18 tip.

Sharing The Story

Shortly after, Seminole decided to share his story on Reddit and his social media pages. “Nothing more frustrating than when I get little to nothing for a tip and the customer is smiling and thanking me profusely as they exit,” he added.

Luckily, that hadn’t been one of those occasions, despite what Seminole thought initially.

Happy Ending

“I’ve been serving a long time, and nothing like this has ever happened to me or anyone. I don’t know how you learned or educated yourself on tipping, but I really appreciate the effort and kindness,” Seminole shared on his Social Media.

He also uploaded a picture of the teenager’s letter, sharing their admirable efforts. Friends, family, and strangers voiced their opinions. Their reaction was more than positive.


“Someone’s parents are doing a good job,” a stranger commented on Seminole’s post. “That’s a beautifully composed letter for a 13-year-old,” wrote another. Each comment had one thing in common—the actions of those young adults were admirable.

They applauded their efforts to make things right, agreeing that seeing such moral fiber in teenagers wasn’t common. But there is an obvious way to stop situations like this from occurring.


Most people working as servers in the hospitality industry earn less than minimum wage. They rely completely on tips to make up a decent wage. Those fortunate enough to be employed with 5-star restaurants make a steady wage with or without tips, but the majority don’t have that luxury.

Let’s hope campaigns for fair pay continue. Hopefully, an end will come to tipping so servers can earn a decent, steady wage!

Another Story

Another incredible story happened in Dallas, Texas, to a young man named Kasey. He was also a waiter working hard to earn his wage and rest after strenuous hours. 

It wasn’t always easy for Kasey. Especially with what was about to happen to him one night while he was working a busy shift. It would change his life forever.

Just One Man

Kasey was, after all, just one man. There was no way that he would be able to serve all these tables by himself! That’s when he started to consider the unthinkable. A calm little voice inside his head said: what if you just walked out right now? 

But as tempting as that option might have been, Kasey was in it for the long haul. Besides, he needed the money.

A Hardworking Man

Kasey was a hardworking man, but even he had his limits. He asked management if they could send a second waiter to help him out. But as they were understaffed that night, his request was denied.

He thought he might succumb to fatigue, but he soldiered on, not knowing what curveball was about to come his way.

Good And Bad Nights

As a server, Kasey was used to having good and bad nights — and the outcome mostly depended on the tips. Some customers were lavish and left big tips, which he greatly appreciated. 

But others weren’t as generous, leaving small tips – or worse, none- even after he’d tried hard to give them good service. Such was the life of a worker in the service industry. He dashed back to the woman so he could finally take the table’s orders and was completely blindsided.

Flavored Water

The woman told Kasey that they wouldn’t be ordering any food, but she’d like to order a bottle of flavored water before they went on their way. Kasey felt terrible. 

The family had patiently waited for an hour just to receive their drinks order, and now they were leaving. He quickly brought the woman her flavored water and the bill, but life wasn’t through with him just yet.

Fumbling For Cash

The bill for the flavored water, minus the drinks Kasey had footed the bill for, came to just 74 cents. The woman fumbled around in her purse for the cash, but she said didn’t have it. 

Then, she asked Kasey if he could split the amount on two credit cards – 37 cents on each. Kasey, almost at the end of his tether, patiently obliged before rushing off to another table.

Fearing The Worst

Finally, after tending to his other customers, he went back to the woman and her family. But as he approached the table, he realized they were gone. Kasey feared the worst. 

He imagined the customers had left in a huff, angry that he hadn’t tended to them as well as he should have. If that was the case, there was nothing he could do. But when he opened the leather folder and saw the note on the receipt, his jaw dropped.

The Gratuity Line

There, in the gratuity line, she had written $500.37. At first, he thought there must have been a mistake. But when he saw the wad of cash and a few coins, he counted it, and it was right. 

Tears began to form in Kasey’s eyes at the overwhelmingly generous gesture, but he was still puzzled. Then, he saw the note.

One Behalf Of The Family

On a napkin in red ink was written: “On behalf of the Sullivan family, I want to thank you for being the person you are. On one of the most depressing days of the year (the death of my father's three-year anniversary), you made my mother's day wonderful. 

She has been smiling since you did what you did." Confused, he read on, and it all began to make sense.

Kroger Grocery Store

Just earlier that day, Kasey had spotted an elderly woman in Kroger grocery store while he was picking up a few things. He immediately noticed that she looked upset.

"I noticed there was a lady standing in front of me," Kasey recounted. "It looked like she had been crying because once in a while, she'd glance over to me.” And what he decided to do next was what set karma into play.

A Beautiful Lady

“I go up to her and say, 'It’s not raining inside. There's no reason to look so down. I'm sure you have a beautiful smile because you are a beautiful lady. It looked like she had a bad day. She kind of shut me down a little bit.

I wanted to make her at least grin a little bit, and it wasn't happening," Kasey explained to ABC News.

Offering To Pay

Then, Kasey offered to pay for the elderly woman’s groceries to brighten her day. The total came to $17, and after some coaxing, she agreed to let him pick up the tab. She smiled at his kindness, and Kasey knew that he had succeeded in making her day a little easier. 

But what he didn’t know was that his good deed was about to come back to him tenfold.

Bid Farewell

After paying for the stranger’s groceries, Kasey bid her farewell and handed her his Applebee’s business card – just in case she ever needed his assistance – and headed to work. "Every time I get to work, I say, 'It's a great day. 

I'm going to make some friends and make some money,'" Simmons explained. "This day happened to be the worst day of my Applebee's career. I was having such a bad night that I was about to walk out of [that] place, and this lady comes in...”

Didn’t Need To Help Her

It turns out that the woman Kasey had served in Applebee’s was the elderly lady’s daughter. She had paid a special visit so that she could repay him for the kindness he showed her mother in Kroger grocery store. 

“Her grocery was only $17.00, and you insisted on paying and told her she was a very beautiful woman... my mother did not need you to help her, but you made her year,” the note concluded.

Picked Up By A News Station

The story was quickly picked up by local news stations, and soon, Kasey’s story had gone viral. Netizens from all over the world were calling Kasey a hero! 

“Fantastic to see that there are still good, generous, humble, sincere, and caring people in our vicious world of today. Well done, and thank you!” one fan wrote.

A Heartwarming Story

Another reader described Kasey’s story as “heartwarming,” and many other commenters agreed. Then, the original commenter made a suggestion. 

“If everyone did one act of kindness a day, the world would be a much better place,” she wrote. But what does Kasey think about becoming a viral sensation and being called a hero by his many fans?

Brightening A Strangers Day

Kasey doesn’t think that brightening a complete stranger’s day was anything to make a fuss about. “Even with what I did at the grocery store, I would want someone to do that for my daughter, mom, or grandmother,” he said. 

"If they looked the way that woman did at Kroger, I would pray you would do the same."

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.