A few years ago, a young man in Kentucky shared his dying wish with loved ones.
He wanted them to give unsuspecting restaurant servers the tip of a lifetime.
They fulfilled that wish, not once, but over and over again across the country–most recently in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
It was just a normal day at Mad Anthony Brewing Company.
After paying their bill, a group left a tip, but it wasn’t just 20%.
It was $500.
It was part of Aaron Collins’ last wish.
Aaron’s brother Seth is carrying out his brother’s request.
“In his will, the very last thing was that we’d go out to dinner and leave an awesome tip for a waiter or waitress. He specifically said, ‘I don’t mean like 25%. I’m talking about $500 for a pizza,'” Seth Collins said.
It started a few years ago.
The first video went viral, then the donations started pouring in–topping $50,000.
Since then, Seth has left a $500 tip in every state, often times with his mother by his side.
“It was Aaron’s idea and Seth has made it happen, so well you can imagine how wonderful that is for me,” said Tina Collins, Aaron’s mother.
A few weeks ago, Seth got a request from David and his family to visit Fort Wayne and spread Aaron’s message in a restaurant there.
“To make it happen in his town. To touch someone there and to share it with his family because he does have four small children and I think for him it was a powerful message that he could share with his children,” Seth Collins said.
The server says she will use the money to pay bills and buy a gift for her grandmother.
It’s a simple gesture at the end of a meal that’s changing not only servers’ lives, but Seth’s too.
“I never had any idea what it would become. Neither would Aaron would have. He would have been completely blown away. He would have thought this is just a small thing he wanted to do for a person,” Seth said. “For one person and he wouldn’t have expected it to have this long-reaching impact.”
The mission, of course, is to honor Aaron and help other people, but his mother Tina says fulfilling his dreams is helping her deal with the loss of her son.
“I feel like it’s done more for me than it has anybody because it’s helped me in my grief. It continues to help me in my grief,” Tina Collins said.
Aaron’s mother says they will keep handing out $500 tips at least once a year for the rest of her life–even if she has to foot the bill.