The journey to college for a high-school-age waitress will be a little easier thanks to the generosity of a diner who left her a $1,000 tip.
Alesha Palmer, 18, was working at Vetoni's Italian Restaurant in Gun Barrel City, Texas, on Saturday when she said she began talking about her college plans with a couple seated at one of her tables.
Unbeknownst to Palmer, a man dining alone at the table next to the couple would become her anonymous benefactor.
When the man went to pay his $9.60 tab, he spoke to the restaurant’s owner and told him he wanted to help Palmer with college. The owner then showed the receipt -- which included the $1,000 tip -- to Palmer.
When the owner showed her the ticket with the $1,000 tip, Palmer froze.
"We were at the hostess stand and the guy had just walked out and I said, ‘Mike, did I do something wrong?,'" Palmer told ABC News, referring to the restaurant's owner. "He said, 'I wish I knew that man’s name. This is a first.'"
"I started tearing up. I was completely in shock," she said. "No one in the kitchen believed us so we had to show them the ticket."
Palmer says she normally receives tips in the range of $10 to $20. The largest tip she'd ever received prior to this was a $35 tip on a large birthday party.
"I didn’t really have a conversation with him besides our bread, because we're most known for our bread knots," Palmer said of the diner.
Palmer, a high school senior, said she plans to attend Tyler Junior College next year and eventually transfer to a culinary arts school and open her own pastry shop.
“I started waitressing to help start putting money towards my education, towards my books and to live off of," Palmer said. "I’ve already processed the tip into my savings account."