Grief inspires generosity, sparks desire to pay it forward

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breakfast spot cohoes receipt becky nielsen_413885

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A customer at a local diner left a generous tip and a touching message for a waitress who hopes it will be the start of a chain reaction.

It was a loyal customer. She ordered a cappuccino and a breakfast sandwich at the Breakfast Spot in Cohoes on Friday. But it’s what she left behind that one waitress will never forget.

“Wow, that’s amazing,” waitress Becky Nielsen said. “It’s just so nice that somebody would do that when they’re grieving.”

Nielsen received a 350 percent tip on a $22 bill – along with a special note:

Life is short. A friend of mine died last night. Please enjoy a night with someone you love.

By the time Nielsen realized, it was too late to say ‘thank you’ for the gift and the touching message of love and loss.

“So I felt terrible about her friend, you know,” Nielsen said. “It’s wonderful to get a tip, but it’s much better to have that person still alive. So very bittersweet.”

Nielsen posted a picture of the receipt on her Facebook page. She said she’s been on the verge of tears ever since. The diner shared it, too, and wrote, “This is the kind of stuff you only read online.”

“It just kind of blew up,” Nielsen said. “We had, like, 1,600 views or something.”

A simple act of kindness toward one has now reached thousands. Nielsen said the customer has started a chain reaction.

“You never know what other people are going through in their person life, so be patient and be kind, and hopefully, good karma will come to you,” she said.

Nielsen will use the tip in the spirit it was given by going on a night out with her friends and boyfriend and never forget the woman who channeled her grief into generosity.

“Just thank you, and I hope it gets better from here on out for her,” she said.

Nielsen hasn’t gotten the chance to thank the customer in person, but she said that when the customer comes back, she will get the very best service.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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