ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -
A St. Petersburg waitress was stunned when a customer left her a $500 tip.
Abigayle Schilcher works at BellaBrava New World Trattoria on Beach Drive NE. Little did she know that one of her customers on Monday afternoon was going to be Seth Collins.
Seth Collins, of Kentucky, has traveled across America leaving $500 tips for waiters and waitresses to honor the memory of his brother, Aaron, who died in 2012 at age 30.
In his will, Aaron Collins requested that his family leave a huge tip for the wait staff.
"He always had a fascination with servers," said Seth. "He didn't feel like he wanted to be served, he could do for himself and someone else shouldn't be bringing him his food."
What started as a one-time thing became a mission for Seth Collins, who has doled out more than $41,000 in his brother's memory. Hundreds of people have contributed so the effort can continue.
"I've always been an advocate of what I call 'RAK', which is 'random acts of kindness': pay for the coffee for the person behind you, pay the toll," said Bill Burke, who has given to Aaron's Last Wish. "I just feel like how uplifting that must be for the person receiving it from a total stranger."
Schilcher was ecstatic, and at first disbelieving, when she learned about her good fortune.
"Shut up, are you serious?" said Schilcher. "Oh my god, thank you so much! You don't know how bad I need this money."
Collins says he never knows how someone will react.
"Everyone reacts differently, some people go into a shell, they're in shock and then other people are more animated," Collins said.
The gift couldn't have come at a better time for Schilcher. After several parking tickets, Schilcher found a boot on her car.
"$265 to get the boot off. And that was my rent money," said Schilcher, who didn't know how she was going to pay her rent, until Monday.
"There's good people out there, and sometimes in life you forget that and and to be reminded of that, sorry, with something like this, it's so great," Schilcher said.