Imagine you’re a waitress at a 24-hour family restaurant on a typical, slow Wednesday night.
You have a couple of customers in the back booth quietly sipping a coffee, leaving you time to watch the clock, relax, and maybe reshuffle a few chairs.
Then, as the clock strikes 11:00 p.m., the quiet evening takes a dramatic turn: in walk 40–50 college-aged guys! What looked like another peaceful evening at Denny’s is suddenly ruined.
So you would think, right?
Not this time.
As the guys from Bethany College walk in to celebrate the engagement of one of their peers, they are greeted in a way they do not expect. “Oh it’s you guys again! I love you guys!” (It was a testimony to the guys behaving themselves, making their associate dean of men very proud!).
But wait – there was more.
Earlier that year at another celebration, I took note of the tips being left by the guys, wanting to make sure they all remembered to give at least a little bit. I noticed someone left a Bible in the tip pile.
My reaction left my lips before I had the chance to check myself, “Aww, come on! Who left the Bible?”
I immediately presumed a negative response from the waitress as she checked over the tips and saw this cheesy, cliché Christian act of leaving a Gideon Bible in place of a tip. I even considered removing the Bible, but was distracted by another conversation and walked out the door, leaving the Bible in the tip pile.
Now, a couple of months later, the guys are greeted by this same waitress exclaiming her love for the large group of young men. She explains her excitement: “Last time you guys were here,” she said, “someone left a little Bible with their tip! I read that thing every day!”
It turns out that one of the third-year students has a habit of leaving a Bible with a generous tip and a note of thanks tucked inside when he leaves a restaurant. What a testimony to God’s ability to work with the simplest of gestures!
After hearing this story, I apologized to the student who left the Bible. I will never again doubt the significance of a simple act of kindness, no matter how cliché I may think it is.