Waitress receives $6,000 tip for being happy

Jay Busbee
Yahoo News

So it turns out that being nice can pay off. Who knew?

Abigail Sailors is a waitress at a Lincoln, Neb., Cracker Barrel. And despite the many, many obstacles in her life, Sailors is a cheerful waitress, not one who slings your food at you with barely disguised disgust. And her cheerfulness has paid off in a big way.

Two customers walked into Sailors' Cracker Barrel last week asking to be seated at a table of the grumpiest server in the restaurant, promising they could make that server laugh. The hostess refused their request and sat them with their cheeriest waitress instead. So the two customers found themselves at one of Sailors' tables, and she began talking. And talking. And talking.

It turns out that Sailors has had a troubled life, one filled with foster homes and abuse and families broken time and time again. When she was just 7 months old, she was involved in a major car crash from which her mother has never fully recovered. Her father was deemed unfit to be a parent, and she and her four siblings were moved to three different foster homes. They suffered abuse at one of the foster homes before Abigail and her siblings were adopted by the Sailors family nine years ago.

The more the customers, who remained anonymous, questioned Sailors, the more she shared about her ancient and recent history. She told them that she's currently enrolled at Trinity Bible College in North Dakota, but didn't have enough money to take classes in the spring. So she was saving money with the hopes of returning in the fall.

“I’m just thankful," she told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "Everything we went through, my attitude is: God blessed me with a lot of things. I’m doing good. That’s all that matters to me.”

Sailors' story and positive attitude moved her customers so much that they invested in her future to a significant degree. They wrote a check for $5,000 to Trinity for her to go back to school this spring, and another check for $1,000 for Sailors herself for daily expenses.

“I couldn’t believe it," she said. "I tried to thank them, and they said, ‘Thank God.’”

So there you go. You can gripe about your life, or you can spin it positive and hope a mysterious stranger rolls into town and tosses you a few bucks. Hey, you never know.

Contact the writer of this story at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.