If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, chances are you’ve got a story about the biggest tip you ever received.
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When Lexy Burke of Nashville, Tennessee was working as a waitress, someone once handed her $1,000 as a tip. She never forgot it, and not just because it was a life-changing sum for her at the time. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, she decided to pay it forward in a very big way.
Lexy became a “serial tipper” by starting a TikTok Venmo Challenge to crowdsource funds that she gives away to hardworking people like waitstaff, drivers, and others who have fallen on hard times. The charitable trend was an instant hit online, and to date she’s raised $200,000 for more than 170 people.
With $400 left from the most recent Venmo Challenge burning a hole in her pocket, Lexy and her husband, singer/songwriter Austin Burke, decided to go out for lunch in Nashville, Tennessee. On the way there, they spotted a young man selling lemonade on a street corner. With temperatures hovering around 102 degrees Fahrenheit, Lexy and Austin decided this guy needed a little boost in his tip jar!
“Since we’ve been doing the Venmo Challenge, I’ve always said I want to do a kid with a lemonade stand,” Austin explained.
The couple told the boy, whose name is Niko, that they’d come back in one hour. They asked him to wait for them in spite of the heat and promised him it would be worth his time. Without knowing a thing about them, he agreed.
Austin and Lexy went to lunch and shared Niko’s story on TikTok. By the time their lunch check arrived, they’d added an extra $600 to the to the $400 they already had in just one hour! Lexy decided they’d “round it up” to $1,100 total.
When they went back and asked Niko why he was selling lemonade, they knew they’d found the perfect recipient for their crowdsourced money.
“So I play on a competitive soccer team, and I was invited to Portugal with my soccer team, but it was a lot of money,” Niko told them. “So my dad wanted me to pay for at least half of it.”
We thought Niko’s eyes were going to pop out of his head! He was so thrilled with the sudden, unexpected windfall that he immediately hugged Lexy. Since he couldn’t wait to call his dad to tell him the good news, Lexy joined the video call to explain who she is and what she does.
“People are just happy to see a hardworking kid, you know?” she told Niko’s dad. “It’s inspiring.”
Lexy and Austin got to meet Niko’s family for lunch that week, and he is already so excited to go to Portugal for soccer camp next year! He and his family are already thinking of ways to pay their good fortune forward, just as Lexy did.
Share this story as a reminder that there are so many good people in the world! If you can’t find one, be one.
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