KEY POINTS

  • A struggling Michigan waitress had a big fortune on New Year's eve when she got a $2,020 tip
  • Danielle Franzoni is planning to use the money to build a new life
  • The “2020 Tip Challenge” echoes “Tip the Bill” of 2018

A struggling Michigan waitress had a windfall of fortune during New Year’s eve. Danielle Franzoni got an astounding tip of $2,020 on a $23 meal that came with a Happy New Year note from a couple she served in a restaurant.

Franzoni, 31, was working as a server in Alpena, Michigan and her benign customers were a couple. Their bill was a meager $23 yet she got a tip of $2,020.

“Happy New Year,” wrote the anonymous couple on the credit card bill along with the words “2020 Tip Challenge.”

Franzoni found it hard to believe and asked her boss whether it was legitimate.

“Things like this don't happen to people like me,” she told the Alpena Times.

“They don’t know anything about my story, they don’t know where I’ve come from, they don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni recalled and she was certain they were just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.

Franzoni was going through a difficult year and moved to Alpena to “start over.” As a recovering addict, she has also lived in a homeless shelter.

Alpena Times noted her Sunday started as a tough day. The waitress’ pain points included seeing the loss of her neighbor’s house going on flames. She was also battling the pressure of moving into her new first house where scare of new bills rattled her.

At the Thunder Bay River Restaurant in Alpena, she had to be on her best face while attending her customers. As the day progressed the tip became the real “sunrise” of a prosperous happy new year.  

In disbelief, she asked the manager: ‘Was this real?”

The tip was real, she was assured. The milk of kindness from her customers will help her build a new life. She moved into her own home the same week. Franzoni said: “My kids have a future, and I have a home.”

Echoing a past program

CNN noted fortune that graced Franzoni $2,020 echoes another tipping challenge – “Tip the Bill” popular in 2018 where customers were encouraged to tip 100 percent and surprise their servers. 

After winning the gift, Franzoni also went out to dine and tipped the waiter. According to Franzoni, she tipped a server $20.20. “That was my 'pay-it-forward,” she said.

Franzoni is looking to use some of the gift money to get her driver’s license back and save a bit for a rainy day. 

Burger Waitress A waitress displays a delectable burger. Photo: Reuters