After moving from Santa Rosa, California, to Waikiki, Hawaii, for school, Cayla Chandara found herself stuck in a place she never thought she’d be in. With student loan debt piling up, and the cost of living proving to be too much for a full-time college student, Cayla put everything on hold to earn the money she needed to stay debt-free.
That meant taking time off from school to work double shifts at the local Cheesecake Factory and Noi Thai Cuisine. She hoped to return to school one day, but for now, balancing her two jobs is where Cayla needed to be.
That is—until one day when she waited on a group of strangers who changed her circumstance with just one meal.
While waiting tables at Noi Thai Cuisine, Cayla had the pleasure of serving a couple and a 10-year-old girl who were visiting from Australia.
They made conversation with Cayla—asking what brought her to Hawaii, and what her plans are for the future.
Thinking the customers were just being nice, the 21-year-old waitress told them about school, and how she hopes to earn enough money to return one day.
Soon enough, they finished their meals and left.
When Cayla retrieved their $200 tab from the table, she was SHOCKED to see the tip they’d left.
A typical 20 percent tip on $200 would be $40. But the customers intentionally added an extra zero, leaving Cayla with a jaw-dropping tip of $400. TWICE as much as their entire meal cost!
“I was then at a loss for words and all I wanted to do was hug them,” Cayla told CBS News.
“Tears streaming. No words at all. Just hugs.”
Desperate to tell them thank you, Cayla recalled where the customers had told her they were staying, and made a special trip to their hotel after her shift.