A surprise tip comes from an unexpected source.

Servers have a pretty big job, especially considering so many of them rely on tips to get by. David Fabila knows that as well as most. The Californian father was exhausted when he clocked into his second job at the House of Oliver wine bar one night, but he knew he needed to put on a brave face and push through for the sake of his family.

What he wasn’t expecting that night, however, was the jaw-dropping generosity of a stranger.

Clocking Into Work

bill (on the left) and two men (on the right)
YouTube/CBS News

One Friday night in the heat of summer, Fabila had just finished working his first job and was gearing up to begin a shift at his second. The father-of-three was preparing for the birth of his fourth child, and in order to ensure his family had all the things they needed, he was working as hard as he could.

That didn’t make him any more excited to clock into work that night, where he was the only server for a packed patio filled with large groups.

“I was telling my coworkers that tonight is not my night. I’m not having a good night; I just came from my other job, I’m exhausted,” he recalled to CBS News.

Little did he know that someone was watching him closely.

A Surprise Note

As Fabila ran around and served guests that night, a young man named Steffen Berr noticed how hard the server was working. So when his table received their bills, Berr decided he was going to give the man an extra tip.

“I pulled the check out to close it, and when I pulled it out, that’s when I saw everything; their bill was very expensive. It was like $190-something, that’s exactly the tip they left me,” Fabila revealed.

On the receipt was a note: “We’re young, but we’re worth serving.”

According to Berr, he used to work as a server at a diner in Texas. So he knew how hard the grind could be and he wanted to pay it forward.

“I decided to show him what he did is appreciated,” the college student said. “I’m in a position where I have the resources and luck to do this, so why not just go for it? I’m really glad I did it. He really needed that money more than I did.”

It was a gesture that Fabila won’t soon forget.

“Unless you work in the service industry, you don’t really understand how much tips mean to a server, to a bartender,” Fabila added. “I’ll never forget this.”

Showing Your Appreciation

We can’t all afford to leave a $200 tip when we’re dining out — not all of us can even afford to dine out as often as we’d like. However, this story resonates because it reminds us that everyone wants to feel appreciated and seen in life.

If you’re dining out and you’re able to do something meaningful for your server like this student did, why not go for it?

But there are other ways to show our appreciation for those who provide us with customer service and support. Grabbing a coffee for the tech guy at work, baking cookies for administrative assistants, or even a thank you note to someone who has gone above and beyond are great ways to show appreciation.

They may not be huge, newsworthy acts, but small tokens of appreciation go a long way. Plus, you never know; they may inspire others to pay it forward with their own acts of kindness, too.

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