A slow New Year’s Eve at a Cheddar’s restaurant brought one waitress a fortune.
Someone left her a 370-percent tip. However, the message left with it proved most valuable to the waitress.
“(The customer) made a difference,” said waitress Heather Schelsteder. “She made me realize there are still people out there that do care. Thank you. I didn’t get to thank her.”
That customer sat at table 43 with two young boys. As they scanned menus, Schelsteder began chatting and quickly learned the other woman was a criminal psychologist struggling with grief and challenging days ahead.
“She mostly meets with people for juries, but said that she was also going to interview people that come back from the war (who had) PTSD,” Schelsteder said. “She said they come back, and it’s really hard for her, because her brother was killed over in a war. (Then) we got to talking about my grandmother.”
Elaine Hacker, 85, was Schelsteder’s grandma. She died on Nov. 23. Every day since has been a struggle for Schlesteder, who explained to her customer how she never lost a loved one that close.
“We both started getting teary-eyed, and then we’re both like trying to blink it away, and then it just kind of went from there,” Schlesteder said. “We just kept talking until the next table came in and she got up and left.”
That’s when Schelsteder discovered a $100 tip left for a $27 meal.
“It made me feel so special and important, like she understood because she also left a note that things will get better, because she knew the heart of losing someone,” Schelsteder said.
That heart helped at least one waitress have an amazing new year.