Friends team up for ‘Friendsgiving,’ surprise waitress with $1,100 tip


Less than a week before Thanksgiving, a young wife and mother received a holiday gift for the ages: A gift that will make Christmas magical for her six children.It was 6:15 a.m. when Julia Ellison arrived at the Waffle House in Cullman, Alabama, where she’s worked for seven years.“I love the early shift, and I love meeting people of different backgrounds,” Ellison said. “The work is hard, but my husband and I have six kids at home all under the age of 13, so working extra hours is important.”Ellison and her husband work hard for their money — no complaints and no excuses. While they have always provided for their children, the kids have never been lavished or spoiled. “At Christmas, our six kids always receive some gifts, but they are small and modest,” she said. “I have always dreamed of being able to give each of my kids that one big gift.”Tanya Ragsdale loves to give back — so do her many friends in the Cullman area.“Last year we surprised a waitress at Cracker Barrel with a few hundred bucks for Thanksgiving,” Ragsdale said. “We called it Friendsgiving — we sat at a table, and the waitress who waited on us was the one we surprised. Today we upped the ante, as about 11 of us chipped in $100 each for a pot that amounted to over $1,100.”Video below: Former NFL star leaves $1,000 tipThis year, Ragsdale and her friends gathered around the Waffle House table before giving Ellison the surprise of her life.“Their bill came to $74.75,” Ellison said. “They motioned me over to them as I was cleaning up. I thought I had messed up their bill, but all of a sudden they took out these $100 bills.”That’s when the Friendsgiving gang presented Ellison with a tip of $1,125.25. Nearly $1,200 was hers, just in time for the holidays. “We’d like to make Happy Friendsgiving an annual thing,” Ragsdale said. “Most of us work in the health and medical field, and we’re very aware of what people are going through.”“Next year we will pick a different restaurant and do the same for an unsuspecting restaurant worker,” said Ragsdale. “It no doubt helps a person around Thanksgiving, and it makes us feel good, too.”Ellison feels blessed and that her heart is full.“I am totally overwhelmed — those kind people have really made my holidays,” she said.Ellison said she’ll be doing some shopping over the next few weeks.“This Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever for my six children,” she said. “For the first time ever, all of my kids will be getting something extra on Christmas morning. They will have something in addition to their small gifts. They will each be getting that one big present.”

Less than a week before Thanksgiving, a young wife and mother received a holiday gift for the ages: A gift that will make Christmas magical for her six children.

It was 6:15 a.m. when Julia Ellison arrived at the Waffle House in Cullman, Alabama, where she’s worked for seven years.

“I love the early shift, and I love meeting people of different backgrounds,” Ellison said. “The work is hard, but my husband and I have six kids at home all under the age of 13, so working extra hours is important.”

cullman friends surprise waffle house waitress

Ellison and her husband work hard for their money — no complaints and no excuses. While they have always provided for their children, the kids have never been lavished or spoiled. “At Christmas, our six kids always receive some gifts, but they are small and modest,” she said. “I have always dreamed of being able to give each of my kids that one big gift.”

Tanya Ragsdale loves to give back — so do her many friends in the Cullman area.

“Last year we surprised a waitress at Cracker Barrel with a few hundred bucks for Thanksgiving,” Ragsdale said. “We called it Friendsgiving — we sat at a table, and the waitress who waited on us was the one we surprised. Today we upped the ante, as about 11 of us chipped in $100 each for a pot that amounted to over $1,100.”

Video below: Former NFL star leaves $1,000 tip

This year, Ragsdale and her friends gathered around the Waffle House table before giving Ellison the surprise of her life.

cullman friends surprise waffle house waitress

“Their bill came to $74.75,” Ellison said. “They motioned me over to them as I was cleaning up. I thought I had messed up their bill, but all of a sudden they took out these $100 bills.”

That’s when the Friendsgiving gang presented Ellison with a tip of $1,125.25. Nearly $1,200 was hers, just in time for the holidays. “We’d like to make Happy Friendsgiving an annual thing,” Ragsdale said. “Most of us work in the health and medical field, and we’re very aware of what people are going through.”

“Next year we will pick a different restaurant and do the same for an unsuspecting restaurant worker,” said Ragsdale. “It no doubt helps a person around Thanksgiving, and it makes us feel good, too.”

cullman friends surprise waffle house waitress

Ellison feels blessed and that her heart is full.

“I am totally overwhelmed — those kind people have really made my holidays,” she said.

Ellison said she’ll be doing some shopping over the next few weeks.

“This Christmas is going to be the best Christmas ever for my six children,” she said. “For the first time ever, all of my kids will be getting something extra on Christmas morning. They will have something in addition to their small gifts. They will each be getting that one big present.”



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