SAN ANTONIO – Christmas came early for a single-parent working as a server at a Cracker Barrel in San Antonio.
What started off as a normal day at work for Rachel Barney, a mother of two teens, ended with her receiving a $1,300 tip.
Barney didn’t even see it coming when her managers asked that she look after a large party of customers on Thursday. Little did she know, the group of strangers was looking to spread some holiday cheer.
When the $270 ticket ended with her getting the tip of a lifetime, Barney couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ I was like, ‘This is something that happens to other people. This doesn’t happen to me. This is what I read about on the news for other people,’” Barney said.
Kevin Nies and his wife, the masterminds behind it all, said the idea to pay it forward was ignited three years ago when they saw someone do something similar on the news. Since then, the couple has collected money from people they know to give to someone struggling financially. Then, Nies calls local restaurants so that employees there can point him in the right direction and help him find the right person.
“Knowing that you made a difference in their life, even just for that one day, it really fills your heart with joy, and just it’s contagious. It really makes you want to just go help other people,” Nies said.
Nies hopes that his act of kindness inspires others to give.
“That’s all I want people to do. Just pay it forward. We have a lot of evil going on in the world right now,” he said.
Barney said she is planning to use the money to take her children out of town, something she said she normally can’t afford.