While this could cause anyone to shut down, Specht and his wife instead stayed proactive and established the “ReesSpecht Life” memorial scholarship. The scholarship’s mission is to pay it forward and to remind everyone of the importance of community, compassion, and respect.
That message has been getting around the community more than the Spechts could have ever imagined.
It all happened one day when a diner sat down for a meal in a restaurant in Times Square. Inspired by Rees’ story, the diner decided to pay it forward and left his waitress a $3,000 tip on a $43 bill. That’s nearly a 7,000 percent tip!
This generous gratuity, however, came with three conditions.
On the back of the credit card slip, the anonymous customer wrote this to the waitress:
Thank you for your kindness and humility. My teacher in middle school had such a difficult experience a few years ago, which has sparked me to do this. My only requirements are:
1.) Go to ReesSpechtLife.com and learn!
2.) Don’t let “Pay it forward” end with you.
3.) Since it’s about the idea and not about you, or me, if you decide to share this, don’t use either or our names!
Thank you for being around for all of my shows on and off Broadway. I hope that someday someone gives as much love and happiness into the world as you do.
The waitress stayed true to the conditions of her tip and even tracked down Specht to share the touching gesture. In a beautiful stroke of luck, Specht recognized the handwriting on the back of the receipt. As it turns out, Specht taught the mystery man nearly ten years ago.
He remembered the man as a boy who would often come into his classroom to talk with him. Specht was shocked and moved by the kindness of the student. He couldn’t believe that he would still be in his thoughts so many years later.
“To think that someone I had a decade ago would honor my little boy, or even remember his eighth-grade science teacher in such a way, blows me away,” Specht said.
We’re blown away by this story, too. Nothing touches our hearts more than hearing stories like this one. It’s just another example of the power of paying it forward.
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