A little bit of empathy can make all the difference for someone who is having a rough day.
When Makenzie and Steven Schultz of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had a less than optimal dining experience for their sixth wedding anniversary last weekend, they decided to keep with the celebratory tone of the evening and reward their struggling server despite the poor service, CNN Money reported. When they paid their bill, they left the server $100 -- a 150 percent tip -- writing on the edge of the receipt, "We've both been in your shoes. Paying it forward."
On Sept. 27, Makenzie Schultz shared the experience via the Facebook post above alongside a photo of the bill. Her post has since received nearly 1.5 million likes from people worldwide. Makenzie explains that they waited 20 minutes for water, 40 minutes for an appetizer and more than an hour for their entrees, but also that the sole server seemed to be managing 12 tables on his own, while simultaneously working as the bartender -- a struggle to which both she and her husband could relate.
The couple originally met while working as waiters at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in the Mall of America in Minnesota, reported CNN Money, so if anyone could understand that the smooth running of a restaurant does not fall entirely in a single server's hands, it would be them. They watched as people around them made negative comments about the service, walked out of the restaurant in frustration and even told people waiting for a table to leave, Makenzie told "Good Morning America." However, they tried to not let it get the best of them, too.
"I finally said to my husband, 'Well, we have nowhere to be and everything is usually so rushed in our lives that this is kind of nice,'" Makenzie told "Good Morning America." "We tried to be as nice to him as possible and he was so nice to us."
When they left the restaurant, they didn't speak to the waiter, hoping the tip would be a surprise. Makenzie only shared the story on Facebook with the intention of reaching family and friends, and even hoped to keep the restaurant name anonymous. She and her husband never expected it to reach as many people as it did.
"This is more about being kind and being generous," she told Today.com. "We just wanted him to know that we've been in his shoes."