One Man’s Generous Tip Was Inspired by a Teacher

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Our teachers impart valuable lessons to us every day. They teach us many things that enable us to grow and succeed, they encourage us to get up when we are down, and they open our eyes to the world around us. Many teachers also help us to develop our values and become better people.

One recent story shows the power of a teacher to inspire wonderful deeds, even years later.

A man, who opted to remain anonymous, paid his $43.50 bill and added a $3,000 tip. According to “Mike,” the only identifying mark the man chose to share, “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.”

Along with the generous tip, came a heartfelt note. In it, the man thanked the waitress for her support over time. He also asked that neither of their names be shared, and that the “pay it forward” act of kindness not end with the waitress receiving the tip. The final qualifier that came with the gift, was a nod to his former teacher.

Mike asked his server to visit, homepage of the foundation started by Mike’s former middle school teacher, Ray Specht. Specht started the organization after the death of his 22-month-old son, Rees, who drowned in the family pool. According to the foundation’s page, their goal is to “Help us help each other. Let’s all work together and do the small things that make a big difference.”

Ray Specht responded to news of the generous tip by saying the following:  “To think that someone I had a decade ago would honor my little boy or even remember his 8th grade science teacher in such a way blows me away… The note I received last night was affirmation that I made a difference in that young man’s life, and in return he honored my little boy with a gesture that is almost unfathomable.”

While a gift of $3,000 would be notable under any circumstances, the fact that it came from the heart makes this all the more powerful. Only by taking the time to talk with the waitress was Mike able to learn that she had fallen on hard times. It was taking the time to think about his former teacher, through his incredibly difficult situation, that he was able to learn the importance of seeking out opportunities to help others. By opening himself up to the world around him, and thinking of others, a truly meaningful gift was born, and multiple lives were touched.

While we may not all be able to give away thousands of dollars, we can find many ways to help when we take a cue from Mike and Ray. Small things really do make big differences. When we do our best to live the positive lessons we have been taught, we make the world a better place and encourage others to grow alongside us.

For another example of a teacher inspiring amazing generosity, please read our piece “A Pizza Delivery Tip For The Ages.”

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