PATERSON, N.J. - A group of friends in New Jersey helped Christmas come early for a server at IHOP by leaving her a $1,200 tip for the holidays.
Zellie Thomas, 35, said he and his friends met up at their local IHOP in Paterson, New Jersey, after a friend on Facebook invited him to participate in a random act of kindness she’d heard about online.
“It was an idea called ‘Shock and Claus’ where they would gather a group of friends and tell them to bring $100 each to a restaurant to fellowship, and then after eating they would tip the waitress whatever was left over,” Thomas said.
After Thomas and his friends were done eating, they paid their bill and wrapped the money for the tip in the receipt.
To the server’s surprise, the amount of cash was much more than their $163 bill.
“She started to count it and realized it was too much money and said ‘no, no, no you guys gave me too much money,’” Thomas said.
They then explained to her it was not an oversight and that the remaining cash was hers to keep for the holidays.
Thomas said the waitress was “completely flabbergasted and brought to tears” and that it was a great way to spread holiday cheer.
“A lot of waiters and waitresses depend on tips to survive,” Thomas said. "This was just one quick way to gather friends together and give someone the Christmas that they deserve," he continued.
Several people who couldn’t make it out to the restaurant donated money via CashApp and Venmo.
Thomas and his friends plan to make “Shock and Claus” a holiday tradition.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.