Chelsea Roff is a waitress at a steakhouse and bar who has virtually never gotten a break.
From a very young age, she has had to practically raise her younger sister, and struggled through an eating disorder for many years as well. Now any free time she does have, she spends giving free yoga workshops to help people struggling with eating disorders—trying to pay it forward because yoga helped her in her own recovery journey.
Friends and colleagues know Chelsea for her kindness. So when she got a surprise anonymous tip of $1,000—they thought it was so like her that she brought it back to the group of servers and said they should split it.
It was all cash, there was no note, and Chelsea was just bewildered. She hadn’t even said anything special to the man, and this tip was clipped neatly and not left behind on accident.
“Close the bill out and stick the rest in your pocket,” the restaurant owner Chris Patterson told her.
Chelsea was still baffled—“I can’t stick the rest in my pocket.”
But the strange string of events had only just started.
This time it was a couple, and they waved her over to talk.
“I’m so embarrassed,” the man said, pointing at the bill. “I only have enough cash for the actual bill, nothing for the tip.”
“Okay,” Chelsea replied, unfazed.
“But we’re from a travel agency,” he continued. “We get these vouchers for free trips—to Hawaii.”
“It’s all expenses paid,” his companion said.
Chelsea started laughing—this was ridiculous.
“Your bill is like $30,” she said.
The couple insisted, telling her “it’s no sweat off our backs,” and Chelsea, still a bit stunned, took the two all-expenses-paid trip tickets in hand.
“Really?” she asked, as they quickly hurried out.
“How’s your day going?” the next diner asked her.
“It’s interesting,” Chelsea replied, still a bit overwhelmed.
And the eventful day was still far from over.
The next table sat a woman reading a yoga book, so Chelsea couldn’t help but strike up a small conversation.
But then the woman asked Chelsea how she got into yoga herself, and Chelsea said, “It’s a long story.”
She shared that she had a severe eating disorder when she was younger, and a therapist recommended yoga. “It was life-changing.”
The woman then revealed that she was a clinical psychologist and had been running a nonprofit organization for eating disorder therapy and she was just starting up a new program—the only program she was missing was yoga. And here she was, a yoga teacher.
She offered Chelsea a job on the spot, and she was speechless.
After a moment, she could only say, “Really?”
It turns out, this was all being recorded.
“Really,” the woman replied.
“Wow. That is not what I expected today,” Chelsea said.
“That’s sort of random,” she added, but it was anything but.
Prank It FWD, a program that tries to create surprise life-changing events for good people, had put this all together after hearing about Chelsea’s story, and the final portion was yet to come.
The restaurant had been outfitted with cameras and “accomplices” to leave Chelsea gifts—her dream job, a huge tip, a vacation—to give her the “best shift ever.”
Susan Krevoy, the psychologist, said when she was approached to help Chelsea as part of the program, she did some research into her background.
“I was just so taken with her story and how hard she worked to go from the bottom of the pit to the top, and is so proud of her achievements and wants so much to give back to other people,” Krevoy said.
Then came the next customer. As the woman handed her back the bill, Chelsea was confused yet again.
“You left your car key,” Chelsea reminded her, trying to hand the key back.
“That’s you,” the diner replied. She didn’t understand.
“Let’s go outside,” she told Chelsea. She relented, and followed her outside slowly.
“See that car? That’s your car,” she told Chelsea.
“Why are you doing that?” Chelsea asked. “Who are you?”
And the car wasn’t even the biggest thing. Chelsea walked slowly toward the car and the driver’s seat opened, and her old friend Diana Roehl jumped out shouting “Surprise!!”
The two of them were literally jumping for joy at the reunion.
Diana Roehl, Chelsea’s first yoga teacher, had told her story to Prank It FWD, and helped set this all up. “I know Chelsea, when she gets all of these surprises, she might just faint. And she deserves every bit of it,” she told them.
“The work that she’s doing right now is impacting and saving lives and how could I not want to be a part of that,” Roehl said.
And it was a close thing.
“I can’t believe it’s you!”
“No one else is more deserving than Chelsea,” said her coworker Audra Walker, who was in on the whole thing as well.
Watch the life-changing moment below: