A waitress received a Christmas morning surprise when a patron tipped her $1,000 on a $17 bill.
Callie Blue, who has been working at Gus’s Diner in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, for six years, had just started her early-morning shift when Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the local Boys and Girls Club, came in for breakfast at around 6:00 a.m. He was Blue’s second customer of the day, she said, and the pair talked for about 45 minutes.
What Blue didn’t know was that Johnson was on a mission to give back. He had grown up not a fan of Christmas because his family couldn’t afford to celebrate the holiday, and he had decided that as an adult, he would do everything he could to make a difference in the lives of others in similar positions. Thirteen years ago, he became head of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, Wisconsin, and has used the position to make major donations and improvements in people’s lives.
“This year we raised over $100,000. We gave away a brand new car to a family of five. We tipped several waitresses, we took about 50 families on shopping sprees and we secured toys for over 600 kids in our county,” Johnson told CBS News. The money, he said, was all fundraised on social media, and he had taken recommendations on who to give gifts to.
He had spent the days leading up to his breakfast at Gus’s Diner making Christmas magic happen all throughout Dane County, and he went to the diner so early because he had several hours of gift-giving ahead of him, he said.
“I got up at like 4:00 in the morning. I said ‘OK, let me see if I can find a restaurant that’s open at like 6:00,’ so when I Googled it, I saw that Gus’s Diner was open. Coincidentally, someone on my Facebook page had mentioned Callie, so I went up there, not even knowing if she was going to be there, and as soon as I walked in she was right there,” Johnson said.
In a video Johnson recorded of Blue receiving the tip, she can be seen laughing and tearing up. Johnson also wrote a note on the back of the receipt thanking Blue for “smiling and working on Christmas Day.”
Blue told CBS News that she first thought the tip was “a total joke.”
“I was like, ‘This is not happening.’ You always see videos and you hear this happening to other people, and you never think it’s going to happen to you,” Blue said. “He was giggling and I was like, ‘That’s just not real.’ It was really exciting. I only cried a little bit.”
Since their story has gone viral, Blue has reached out to Johnson and offered to help with any other charity work he does.
“It’s been a wild ride,” she said. “It’s been wild. It’s been very humbling and very exciting.”