Church Surprises Waffle House Staff Working Christmas Eve With $3,577 Tip

Each member of the congregation donated about $5 to contribute to the tip.

No one likes working on Christmas Eve, but a local church cheered up one group of employees with a generous, $3,577 tip.

After collecting $1 from each member of the congregation every Sunday for a month and another $1 on Christmas Eve, members of the Grand Lake United Methodist Church in Celina, Ohio, delivered the surprise to the staff working 24 hours at a nearby Waffle House.

“We’d like to give you an offering tonight,” Rev. Mick Whistler told staff members in a video posted to the church’s Facebook page. “We’d like to give you a big tip for what you’re doing here so we raised $3,577. Now that’s for you guys to split however you want to split.”

The five women working behind the counter embraced each other and burst into tears.

Whistler told he was originally inspired to bring the staff a generous tip because of a short story in Jorge Acevedo’s Christmas book, “Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas,” by Pastor Jacob Armstrong.

In the story, the protagonist brings his kids to Waffle House early one morning while it is still dark out.

“Armstrong then compared the ladies who work all night at Waffle House with the shepherds from the nativity story,” Whistler explained. “Armstrong closes his story saying, ‘And I wondered, if that grand announcement came tonight, would God go to Waffle House while it was still dark and tell the ladies who work all night?’”

He then told his congregation on Christmas Eve they would be surprising the staff at the restaurant.

“At the end, we see what we can do when we come together as the church,” Whistler said. “We are so much better together than apart.”