Alabama Friends Team Up To Surprise Waffle House Waitress With $1,125 Tip

“Most of us work in the health and medical field, and we’re very aware of what people are going through."

Waffle House Server

Tanya Ragsdale

Tanya Ragsdale and her friends love to give back. This Thanksgiving, for the second year in a row, they celebrated their good fortunes by treating an unsuspecting restaurant worker to an extra-large tip. After surprising a waitress at Cracker Barrel with a few hundred dollars last year, they set their sights on the local Waffle House

Early in the morning of November 19, Ragsdale and her friends sat down for breakfast at the Waffle House in Cullman, Alabama, for their second-annual “Friendsgiving” meal. 

“I love the early shift, and I love meeting people of different backgrounds," their server, Julia Ellison, told WYFF. “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."

When she saw the pile of cash Ragsdale’s table of 11 had left for her, she thought she had made a mistake. 

“Their bill came to $74.75," Ellison recalled. “They motioned me over to them as I was cleaning up. I thought I had messed up their bill, but all of a sudden they took out these $100 bills.”

Each woman paid $100, leaving Ellison with a tip of $1,125.25.

Ellison told WYFF that she feels “blessed” by the gesture. 

“I am totally overwhelmed—those kind people have really made my holidays," she told the local news station. “This Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever for my six children," she said. "For the first time ever, all of my kids will be getting something extra on Christmas morning. They will have something in addition to their small gifts. They will each be getting that one big present."

As for Ragsdale and her crew? They’re just getting started.  

“We’d like to make Happy Friendsgiving an annual thing," she said. “Most of us work in the health and medical field, and we’re very aware of what people are going through."

“Next year we will pick a different restaurant and do the same for an unsuspecting restaurant worker," Ragsdale continued. "It no doubt helps a person around Thanksgiving, and it makes us feel good, too.”

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