SCRANTON, Pa. — Mariana Lambert is a waitress at Alfredo's Pizza Cafe in Scranton.
Every shift, she comes in, waits on her tables, serves the food, and then gives customers their bill.
She relies on the tips those customers leave her to help pay her bills. Last month, a man came in and ordered a stromboli. His bill totaled just over $13 but left her with the tip of a lifetime, $3,000.
"It really meant a lot to me because everyone's going through stuff. It really touched my heart. I still can't believe it. I'm still in shock," Lambert said.
Eric Smith is from out of the area but travels to different places, leaving tips like the one he left Mariana as part of the social media trend called 'Tips for Jesus'.
Employees at Alfredo's were shocked by the gesture and, at first, were skeptical if it was real or not.
"We ran his card, and everything went through. We took his ID and took pictures of everything. They waited a little bit to make sure it was legit and went through, and it ended up being real," Lambert said.
COVID was a tough time for restaurants and staff, so having a random act of kindness done by a stranger was heartwarming.
"It's nice that people are noticing people in the restaurant industry because it's very hard work and a lot of people aren't very understanding to the aspect of understaffing. It's definitely nice to know that people are getting involved and helping other people out like this," said manager Zachary Jacobson.
Mariana says she's been waiting tables since she was in high school and knows how hard it can be. She says she hopes to pay it forward and give a little extra the next time she's out to eat.
"I know how it feels when you come in, and even if you can get a little bit extra. It really means a lot."
Mariana says this extra dough will be put to good use to pay some bills and maybe take a vacation with her family.
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