The holiday season is a time for joy and cheer. It’s a season of giving, and showing love to your family, friends, and fellow members of planet Earth. But for many, the holidays are anything but a time to celebrate.
Families with kids often find themselves scraping together all the funds they can to buy gifts for their loved ones. Single mothers have it particularly hard around the holiday season.
Not only was the typical holiday stress weighing on Trisha Murphy, a single mother from Sullivan, Maine, but she was running into a string of bad luck and financial setbacks this month.
As Christmas drew near, she feared that her kids would rush to see a tree without any presents to open underneath it.
The holiday season was bringing Trisha Murphy nothing but worry. The single mother feared she wouldn’t be able to get her kids any presents.
The day started inauspiciously for Murphy. The car that she uses to taxi her four children to and from school was towed. The inconvenience was accompanied with a $735 bill to get the vehicle back.
The single mother works two jobs—one at a nursing home, and the other as a server at a Denny’s diner—and is also studying to become a registered nurse.
“On average, I’d say I’m working 50 to 60 hours a week and at school 18 hours a week,” Murphy told CBS News. “I also clean and paint here and there.”
She went to work at Denny’s that day unsure of how she was going to be able to get her car back, and buy the kids anything for Christmas.
“I went into work, racking my brain as to how I was going to pull this off. I can pick up a couple extra shifts and do some odd jobs. That would mean I’d have to pay extra for a sitter though. I couldn’t even concentrate at work,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
Murphy “painted on a smile” and was serving a table of three men. There was nothing particularly unique about them, and she didn’t think anything of it.
“Work was terribly dead,” she writes in her post.
She planned on taking extra shifts at the restaurant during the week to help cover her losses. But that brought its own expenses, as she would need to hire a babysitter to take care of the kids while she was working.
One of her few tables that night was a table of three men she described as “a little grungy.” She expected an average tip.
Once the bill came, one of the men insisted that Murphy ring up his order at the register. When she explained that paying the check is done at the counter by the hostess, he insisted.
Murphy obliged; she wasn’t busy with other tables and didn’t want to be rude. When she got to the computer to cash their payment, she couldn’t believe her eyes. The gratuity one of the men left her was astounding.
One of the customers left Murphy a $500 tip—enough that she won’t need to fret over Christmas this year.
“When he put his card in, he had a huge, ear to ear, smile. The receipt printed and I almost collapsed!” Murphy wrote in her post.
He just smiled again and said “merry Christmas dear,” and almost danced out of the restaurant.
Murphy says the generous tip allowed her to get her car out of the tow yard. Without her car, transporting her kids where they need to go, driving to work, and buying presents would have been impossible.
With the cost of the car retrieval taken care of, she was able to use the money made this week towards buying Christmas presents for her four kids.
“I don’t know this man’s name, but I hope he realizes that he literally saved Christmas for my children and I!” Trish writes cheerily in her Facebook post.
“Good people do still exist. Yesterday was the day I met Santa!”
Yesterday morning, I was so stressed I could barely function. Most of my Christmas shopping wasn't done, my car got…