“Don’t let ‘pay it forward’ end with you.”
This was the advice on the back of a New York City restaurant receipt left by a man named Mike for his favorite waitress. The bill, which came to about forty bucks, had a hefty tip attached — $3,000 — after the waitress told him she had been served with an eviction notice earlier in the month.
“This woman had been serving us for almost a year now. She’s a lovely individual, and she talked about how she was served an eviction notice last month,” Mike (last name withheld) told ABC News. “I just had also been constantly thinking about for quite some time my teacher’s project and this foundation, and I thought it was an appropriate time.”
The teacher he’s referring to is his former middle school science teacher, a man named Rich Specht, who started the website ReesSpechtLife.com after his 22-month-old son tragically drowned in a pond on the family’s property as the family prepared for Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The Spechts began a pay-it-forward foundation and have so far distributed 100,000 cards worldwide encouraging others to do something nice for someone else.
Mike said he chose to leave the $3,000 — a 6800% tip — because he knows how high rent is in New York City. He made the waitress promise to pay it forward, and chose to keep his identity and the identity of the waitress anonymous; though according to the note he wrote along with the tip, it seems he’s an actor who has developed a friendship with the waitress over the years.
“Thank you for being around for all of my shows on and off Broadway,” Mike writes. “I hope that someday someone gives as much love and happiness into the world as you do.”
He continues, “since it’s about the idea and not about you or me, if you decide to share this, don’t use either of our names!”
As for the Specht family, they tell ABC News they are happy to make a difference in the memory of their son.