The $5000 tip that changed this waitress's life

By Lauren Tuck, Shine

The happiest server at Cracker Barrel in Lincoln, Nebraska, walked away from work with even more to smile about after receiving a life-changing tip last week.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, a man stopped in with a friend for lunch at the restaurant on Thursday and asked the hostess to seat them at the table of the restaurant’s grumpiest server because the pair wanted to use their charm to cheer someone up. The hostess responded that the chain actually didn't have a single dispirited employee and instead gave them the opposite — their happiest waitress, Yahoo! Shine reported.

The server sent to table 222 was 18-year-old Abigail Sailors, who submitted to questions from the two men about why she had such a sunny disposition. Throughout their lunch, Sailors told the patrons her story.

Sailors, the youngest of five children, was tossed around the foster care system throughout her childhood. She and her older siblings were separated and reunited multiple times, and suffered from abuse for years until John and Susi Sailors took all five of them in nine years ago.

Flash-forward to today and Sailors recently completed her first semester at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota. The freshman, who plays basketball and is studying psychology and youth ministry, pays for her own education. She told her inquisitive customers that she didn’t have enough money to return for the spring semester and is saving wages and tips for future tuition.

The pair left a $100 tip that was split with another Cracker Barrel server, but the best part of Sailor's day was yet to come: One of the men revealed that he was a Trinity alumnus and pulled out his chequebook. He wrote the young student two cheques — one for $5000 to the school and another for $1000 for whatever else she needed.

The $5000 cheque the happiest waitress at the Cracker Barrel received. Photo: Twitter

“I couldn’t believe it. I tried to thank them, and they said, ‘Thank God,’” Sailors told the Lincoln Journal Star.

This charitable gratuity, one of the first reported in 2014, follows a banner year of headline-making prodigious tips. In October, Aurora Kephart, a 25-year-old bartender at Conway's Restaurant and Lounge in Springfield, Oregon, received a Keno ticket worth $17,500 as a tip. In December, an anonymous person who signed @tipsforjesus on receipts left a slew of substantial tips for servers, such as $3000 on a bill of only $87.88, and, just a few days later, $5000 on a $214.75 total due.

Grumpy servers take note: Sailors' silver-linings story is definitely something to smile about.

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