It was just a regular Saturday night at the First and Last Chance Bar in Lisbon, a tiny town in the bottom right corner of North Dakota that is home to the oldest, continuously run movie theater in the country.
Shiela Weisberger, 48, was behind the bar, chatting to some regulars about “her boys” – grandsons Dalton, Bentley and Ashton, who are 4-year-old triplets. They have lived with her since they were two months old.
The 4-year-old grandsons of Shiela Weisberger
A couple overheard her and said something like ‘Wow! Triplets!’ And soon Weisberger was showing them photos of the sweet-faced boys and explaining how they came into her care long after she thought she was done raising children.
Her daughter, Stephanie, already had one child when the boys were born. She was overwhelmed. So Weisberger said she’d take the three babies and raise them as her own, she told InsideEdition.com.
The husband and wife sitting at her bar “were very nice people,” she said. “We chatted about the woman’s father, who had died in December and they were finally able to bury him” because they’d had to wait for spring to thaw the frozen ground.
They were from somewhere in Minnesota, Weisberger remembers. “It was like we were the best of friends sitting there talking across the bar.”
The couple asked for their tab, which totaled $33. Weisberger ran the husband’s credit card, put the bill in front of them and turned back to her regulars.
“We chatted some more, and they said to have a good night, and they left,” she said.
She picked up their glasses, turned over the bill, and stopped short.
“I kept looking at it to make sure I was really seeing what was there. And then I went into the bathroom and cried,” she said.
What she saw was a $300 tip and a note that said “Take care of those boys!!”
She posted the receipt on Facebook and she woke up Tuesday to find 150 friend requests on her page from “people I’ve never met.”
She’d read about people leaving big tips, “but you never know if it’s really true.” Now she does.
The act of kindness comes at a time when she can use it. The boys’ father, 36-year-old Joshua Ertelt, was killed in a head-on collision two months ago.
He had been a part of his sons’ lives, Weisberger said. She took them to his funeral. “I don’t think they understand,” she said. “I think they’re too young to understand.”
She talks to her daughter every day. “She loves (her sons) a lot,” Weisberger said. “We try to lift each other up. We try to do what’s right for each other.”
She carries no hard feelings against her daughter, she says. “She just couldn’t care for them all,” Weisberger said.
She makes do by saving all her tips, and from Social Security benefits she now receives on behalf of the boys’ father.
What will she do with the tip? She’s already done it. She deposited $100 in each boy’s savings account.
“It belongs to them,” she said.