Hawaii Visitors Pay Struggling Waitress’ College TuitionHonolulu Civil BeatShareHawaii Visitors Pay Struggling Waitress’ College TuitionHonolulu Civil BeatLearn More
Getting anything above an 18 percent tip as a server is a tiny victory in the restaurant industry. Getting a massive 200 percent tip will make anyone’s month.
Cayla Chandara, a waitress that works two serving jobs in Honolulu, Hawaii, recently received the tip of a lifetime from an extremely kind Australian couple visiting the island for vacation.
According to Honolulu Civil Beat, Chandara was waiting on the couple at Noi Thai Cuisine on April 5 when the topic of schooling came up. She explained that she moved to Hawaii for school, but was forced to drop out due to financial hardship.
Chandara dropped the couple’s $205 bill only to discover that they left her a $400 tip.
Image: anthony quintano/civil beat
“I just thought it was so generous of them. I never get tipped that big. I had to say thank you,” Chandara told KHON. “During dinner, they told me where they were staying, so I ran there after work to see if they’d still be there."
As a thank you, Chandara gave the couple flowers, as well as a card.
But the next day the couple returned to the restaurant and proposed another gift to Chandra: pay off her student loan debt of more than $10,000, and the rest of her college tuition.
“I was like, ‘No way, you don’t have to do that for me. I just wanted to say thank you,’” Chandara said. “I still don’t feel like it’s real. I want to run around in the streets.”
After refusing, Chandara eventually submitted and allowed the generous couple to pay for her schooling.
The couple told Chandara that they would prefer to remain anonymous, telling her that the best way to thank them was to be her best self.
Chandara tells KHON that she plans to return to school to study business and liberal arts.
"They really changed my life and I don’t know how to thank them," Chandara told Civil Beat. "But I will make them proud and do whatever I can to be the best person I can be."
The couple plans to stay in touch with Chandara, and attend her graduation.