Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the year and share what you’re especially grateful for — and for a lot of people, that’s enough and that’s where it stops.
But Tanya Ragsdale of Cullman, Alabama, wanted to do more. She’s started a bit of a tradition with her friend group, and it’s one that would be lovely to see take off elsewhere.
“Today, my girlfriends & I went to the Waffle House on 157 in Cullman at 6am to celebrate ‘Friendsgiving,’” Ragsdale wrote in a Facebook post she shared on Nov. 19.
Plenty of people celebrate “friendsgivings,” but few of them have $100 bills burning holes in their pockets when they gather.
When Ragsdale and her 11 friends walked into that Waffle House, though, that’s exactly what they had. She even admitted on her post that they “had a motive” — the best kind.
They were seated by the host and had no idea who their server would be.
“We sit wherever the host sits us, so that it is random,” Ragsdale said, according to Fox News. “We don’t know the waitress.”
The friends talked, ate and then got the bill, which totaled $74.75. Each one of them drew out a $100 dollar bill and set it down on the table, leaving a tip of $1,125.25 for the unsuspecting waitress, whose name was Julia Ellison.
Ellison was overwhelmed by the gift. Her thought immediately went to being able to provide her children with an unforgettable Christmas.
“At Christmas our six kids always receive some gifts, but they are small and modest,” Julia said, according to a Facebook post by Rick Karle with WVTM 13. “I have always dreamed of being able to give each of my kids that one big gift.”
Ellison and her husband work hard for their family, and she puts in extra hours whenever she can.
“I love the early shift, and I love meeting people of different [backgrounds],” she said. “The work is hard, but my husband and I have six kids at home all under the age of 13, so working extra hours is important.”
At first, Ellison thought the money might have been a mistake.
“Their bill came to $74.75,” she said. “They motioned me over to them as I was cleaning up. I thought I may have messed up their bill. But all of a sudden they took out these 100 dollar bills.”
Ragsdale said that another customer came up to them, all emotional, and said “this could not have happened to a better or more deserving person.” She also hopes this sort of thing will take off elsewhere so that others can enjoy the blessing of an unexpected windfall.
“Most of us work in the health and medical field, and we’re very aware of what people are going through,” Ragsdale told Rick Karle.
“Next year we will pick a different restaurant and do the same for an unsuspecting restaurant worker.”
“It no doubt helps a person around Thanksgiving, and it makes us feel good, too.”
Ellison told Karl, “I am totally overwhelmed — those kind people have really made my holidays.
“For the first time ever, all of my kids will be getting something extra on Christmas morning.”