A server at a central Iowa restaurant got the surprise of her life on Thanksgiving day when a customer handed over a stack of cash. A $1,300 tip on a $10 order. The server reacted as any of us would. In emotion-laden amazement and gratitude.

The server's name is Shelby Thill. She estimates she's been a server somewhere between two-and-a-half and three years. Thill works at IHOP in West Des Moines and, like so many servers, her salary isn't minimum wage. She told WHO, "We get about $4 an hour, so we really heavily rely on our tips because our paycheck every two weeks is maybe less than $100." It all makes the surprise she received on Thursday even more important.

The tip was given to Thill by Welcome to Des Moines photographer Mirza Kudic. Earlier in 2020, he took to social media with the goal of raising $1,000 to give to a random server on Thanksgiving. Kudic put in $200 of his own money and the total donated continued to rise toward the surprise of a lifetime.

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On Thanksgiving afternoon, as Kudic and a friend prepared to leave the West Des Moines IHOP, he pulled off the stunning surprise. With a simple, "Hold on, before you leave...," Kudic pulled out the money, handed it to Thill, and wished her a happy Thanksgiving. Even behind her mask, you can see Thill is immediately overcome by emotion.

At a time when so many need a helping hand, one man's idea blossomed into an opportunity for others to help. Approximately 50 people joined Kudic in raising the tip of a lifetime. Shelby Thill will always be grateful they did.

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