Waitress Rosalynd Harris works several jobs so that she can pay for college tuition. One busy weekend, a group of men from Texas strolled into the restaurant she worked at, and they stuck out like sore thumbs. Harris was nervous about serving them at first, but once they left, she noticed there was a note on the check. After reading it, she couldn’t believe what her brain just processed. It would have been tough for anyone to believe the writing.
She Isn’t Your Average Waitress
Rosalynd Harris is more than your average waitress, and that’s for sure. At 25 years old, she works at Busboys and Poets, located in Washington, D.C., and she knows precisely what she wants from life.
Working at that restaurant is no coincidence, as it promotes social justice like Rosalynd does. She stands up for what she believes in, no matter what. Then, when a group of Texans walked into the restaurant, her moral compass spazzed, and she didn’t know how to handle the situation.
The Daily Struggle
While she might generally enjoy working at Busboys and Poets, Harris treats it more like a means to an end. It’s not where she wants to end her career. She works two jobs to help pay off the college fees she has while attending school.
Harris doesn’t have much time to herself for relaxation or leisurely activities. With so much going on in her life, the last thing she wanted was drama coming from a customer.
Where Things Went Down
The last thing Harris wanted was a customer confrontation, but the moment was approaching where she had no say in the matter. As previously mentioned, Busboys and Poets was a social-justice friendly location that had role models of color plastered across the walls.
You can imagine how Harris felt when a group of men with red caps walked into the building. It wasn’t just the place that serves as a crucial element in this story, but the time it happened matters too…
Fighting For Her Rights
The unusual situation took place during the presidential inauguration! Not only that, but it was also when the Women’s March took place as well. A lot was going on, and Harris was one of the 500,000 women that showed up to march.
After all the festivities finished, some folks stayed around the city for the week that followed. Jason White and his friends were some of those people that decided to stick around after coming from Texas…
Sticking Out Like A Sore Thumb
During that fateful day at lunchtime, Jason and his pals strolled into the restaurant, and the energy shifted. Immediately the place became silent. Harris and everyone else in the building stared in disbelief.
Stereotyping people usually isn’t something Harris does, but two things were certain regarding these new customers. For one, they were from out of town. Secondly, they only came to the country’s capital to celebrate the inauguration of the new president.
He Was A Real Patriot
It’s never polite to judge a book by the cover, but sometimes your assumptions can be correct, as Harris’ were. Jason White and his buddies came from Texas to celebrate the new leader of the free world, happy at the outcome of the election.
White is very patriotic, and he’s someone who puts his country first. Looking through that lens, it makes sense that he casually walked around sporting his red cap. Still, there was more than meets the eye about White that Harris didn’t know…
Who Was Jason White?
There was more to Jason White than you would guess from a first impression. The 37-year-old is a dentist who’s big on family and has a unit of close friends in his circle.
Once he arrived in D.C. with his buddies, they visited several locations, including Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. While there is more to White than the red hat he had on, he was merely wearing it in the wrong place…
No Hats, Please
Unsurprisingly, the first thing that caught everyone’s attention was the red hats White and his friends wore. Harris didn’t mention anything to White, but she quietly suggested that he and his pals remove the lids while in the eatery.
“We started getting looks,” White said. “I told my friend, you need to take your hat off. I don’t want people to think we’re coming in here to flaunt. We’re just coming here to have lunch.”
One Friendly Encounter
Determined not to let anything ruin her mood, Harris proceeded to White’s table and gave them all a welcoming smile. They reciprocated the gesture, and things looked to be going great as they started cracking jokes!
“She started laughing when we said we were from West Texas, and she said, ‘I can tell you’re from the South,'” White said. “I said, ‘What’s your favorite thing on the menu?’ She said the avocado panini is delicious, and I love avocado, so I got that…It was a relief for both of us.”
A Very Unique Place
After the two broke the ice, White stared curiously around and asked about the restaurant’s history. Harris told them that they named it after the poet Langston Hughes, a prominent figure in African American literature.
According to Harris, the group informed her that they never been to a place like it before. Once she completed taking their orders, Harris let them enjoy their food, and that was the end of that. Nothing crazy happened.
Would You Look At That!
Skip ahead one hour, and White left the restaurant with his friends. They enjoyed their lunch in an environment they’ve never seen before, so they departed with a positive vibe.
As waitresses do, Harris walked over to their table to clean up and collect any tip they might’ve left before setting up for the next customers. When she made it to the table, she saw the check covered in words. One of the men had decided to leave a note, so she read it.
The Interesting Note
Harris only had to read a couple of words for her to realize that they written especially for her. ‘Shocked’ was the best way to describe the emotions Harris felt.
The first part of the note read, “We may come from different cultures and backgrounds and may also disagree on certain issues.” Harris’ interest soared, so she kept on reading. The more she read, the further down her jaw dropped.
An Incredible Smile
Overwhelmed by what White wrote in the first few sentences, it was what came toward the end that genuinely made Harris’ eyes glow. Remember, she didn’t expect anything of this magnitude coming from someone wearing a red hat.
“If everyone would share a smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people,” he wrote. “Not race. Not gender. Just American. God bless!” That wasn’t the end of it! Harris became utterly shocked by what was at the bottom of the check.
An Incredible Tip
The subtotal for the meal White and his friends feasted on was only $72.60, but Harris couldn’t believe that he left her a 625% tip, which came out to $450! A standard 20% tip is something to be happy about, so this was mindblowing.
Harris had never seen anything of this magnitude in her life. White gave her the $450 as a nod to the person he came there to celebrate, the recent leader elected.
White Had An Ephiphany
White remembered looking at all the influential figures that were on the walls of the restaurant. He also thought of how the Women’s March and the inauguration coincided with each other, so that’s when something clicked.
He figured that those were examples of people expressing the values they had. Like a light bulb appearing over his head, he began to understand how much he had in common with others, including Harris. That’s what inspired his generous tip, which left Harris speechless.
At A Loss For Words
As if the note wasn’t enough, once you add in the enormous tip, Harris couldn’t help but become emotional. There was no doubt that type of tip would help her a ton in her current stage of life.
Working two jobs so she could pay for college meant that extra $450 would be able to do some damage control. “The note was extremely touching and unexpected,” she told TODAY. “Of course, the biggest part was definitely the amount of the tip he left.”
A Change Of Heart
The kind gesture helped provide Harris with a broader perspective, especially when it came to people who had differing views from hers. She thought that folks like White and his friends, with their red hats, were only interested in taking care of themselves.
“You automatically assume…that they have ideas about you,” she said. “But [Jason was] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange.” Harris’ views weren’t the only ones that changed…
Moved To Tears
The whole event was enough to bring White to tears. He became reflective and thought about what had happened. His thoughts moved made him more emotional than he would have ever imagined.
“As I sat there, I thought about the entire weekend, and I thought I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me, but if most Americans have a preconceived perception about people, then we’re never going to get better,” he said. It was at that moment the dentist got a phone call he wouldn’t forget.
A Special Reunion
It didn’t take long for this story to catch the attention of millions and put both White and Harris in the limelight. During an interview Harris participated in one day, she decided to give Harris a surprise FaceTime call.
It was the first time they had an interaction since the day they met at the restaurant. They finally had a chance to brief each other on how their lives were going. During the conversation, they both admitted that there was something about the story that people might’ve misunderstood.
Understanding The Root Of The Gesture
Everything in life isn’t black and white. If it were, then there would be fewer misunderstandings between people. Both Harris and White saw that others were taking the story a different way, one that they didn’t agree was true.
“I hope that people just don’t see it as this white guy helping this black girl,” the waitress said. “This gracious gesture came from a place of compassion and love.” Jason agreed, saying the following: “It’s not about her and me…I just want people to take the example, and stop and think a little bit before they judge people – on all sides.”