Awesome, Janet Ballard, a 53-year old mother of two who works as a restaurant waitress in Georgia, says she was recently “blessed” by a group of 12 generous customers who left her a $1,200 tip for her good service. Thankful for the blessing, she decided to also pay it forward.
Ballard has been working at Cracker Barrel in Dublin, Georgia for over a decade now. Earlier this week, she went to work thinking it was just an ordinary day until lunchtime where she was assigned to a table of 12 who had planned to change her life.
“I connected with them immediately,” Ballard told TODAY Food. “I’m a people person. I start with greeting them and finding out what needs they have, if they have allergies or whether they’re vegan. Everything that they can possibly need or want I try to hone in on those things when I’m taking that individual order.”
At the end of their meal, the group handed her a greeting card. She thought it was just a simple greeting card, but she was surprised when she unfolded it and saw it was filled with cash.
“Counting the money, I got so choked up by the time I got to $400. They wanted me to count out loud. By the time I got to $400 I was like ‘oh my goodness this is really happening,’” Ballard said.
“I got so emotional and I don’t really like to cry with a camera in my face, but I didn’t even care at this point,” she continued. “I had 12 total strangers saying, ‘Hey, we care enough about you because of how you made us feel while we were dining and we want to be a blessing to you and your family.’”
James Deal, one member of the group that gifted Ballard with cash, said that he and his friends each contributed $100 because they felt it was the right thing to do. He wrote on Facebook, “What a wonderful day with friends as we celebrate our 1st Annual 100 dollar breakfast. We all gave our waitress Janet a $1200.00 tip.”
Ballard was thankful for her answered prayer as she was able to pay her taxes and also make her car payment early to improve her credit score.
Moreover, Ballard was also inspired to give back to others. After work, she ate at a seafood lunch wherein she also “blessed” her server with a large tip. She then treated herself to a pedicure wherein she also gave a large tip to the manicurist even before her appointment started.
“Because of the gift of love and caring and sharing I’m able to not only be a better Janet, but I am able to be an example for people this time of year who don’t have hope,” Ballard said.