Singapore

Waitress gets $2,000 tip from regular customer

He says he wanted to encourage her and be a role model for his daughters

A waitress was moved to tears after a customer gave her a tip of $2,000 - nearly three times her monthly salary.

The waitress, a single mother with two young children, shared her story on citizen journalism website Stomp recently.

The 37-year-old, who gave her name only as her initials XYW, arrived in Singapore from Penang a decade ago and has struggled to make ends meet since her divorce in 2012.

She does odd jobs like cleaning houses and washing clothes in the day, while her nights are spent working at a steamboat restaurant in Katong.

"As I am a permanent resident, I have few subsidies," she said. "My take-home salary from the restaurant is $700 plus, while I earn $50 for every home I clean (about four hours each time). Sometimes, I have to clean up to 20 houses a month."

She recently hit a rough patch and did not have enough to pay for her children's school fees.

But the generous $2,000 tip from the regular customer helped her tide over the crisis.

XYW initially thought the extra cash was a "mistake", as his bill was only $66.

She broke down when she realised it was meant as a tip.

Stomp spoke with the customer, Mr Atwell Tay, who explained that he felt compelled to give her the tip.

"My family is also in the food and beverage business, so I know what a tough industry it can be, having helped my father in the kitchen before. It requires a lot of energy and can be very stressful," said the 32-year-old oil trader.

"She is also a very hardworking person, and this is a quality that's hard to find in Singapore nowadays. I appreciate and am impressed by people who work hard instead of stretching their hands out to ask for money."

Mr Tay, who was at the restaurant with his wife and oldest daughter, encouraged XYW to stay strong and continue to give her best.

His motivation for helping others comes from wanting to be a role model for his three daughters: "Being humble is a virtue and I want them to see that. We have two hands, one is to work hard and the other is to help others."

Mr Tay made headlines in 2015 after getting a Lotus supercar from his mother for his birthday.

Responding to critics who say that his family background allowed him to be generous, Mr Tay said that lending a helping hand and being well off are different things.

"Coming from a poor family and becoming rich doesn't mean you will end up helping everyone. Neither does coming from a rich family and being successful mean you will help other people. It all boils down to the individual," he said.

XYW said she was very moved by Mr Tay's deed.

She told Stomp: "He visits the restaurant about thrice a week, always in a different car. However, he always clears his own plates, telling my colleagues that it's okay. Whenever I serve wealthy people, they are usually very proud. But Mr Tay is humble and always greets us, saying thank you and everything."

Mr Tay said he would donate his Stomp Goody Bag to his daughter's school.

"I would like to donate the Goody Bag to someone else because I am not here for the publicity. I'm here because I hope that more people in our generation can work hard."

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