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Dearborn Co. friends surprise waitress with $1,500 tip

The best friends started initiative in 2019

(LAWRENCEBURG, Ind.) -- Two best friends in Lawrenceburg are bringing Christmas cheer in an unsuspecting way.


Kati Elliott and Jessica Smart launched their initiative called Good Tidings and Tips in 2019.


Each year, they dine at a restaurant and surprise a deserving waiter or waitress with a $1,500 tip.


The surprise is reserved for a server who shows a strong work ethic and is also in need of financial assistance.


"We get nominations and we typically look for someone that might have kids or is having an issue like car problems," Elliott said.


Kati and Jessica traveled to the Hebron Grille in Northern Kentucky to surprise a Lawrenceburg waitress on Thursday.


"We worked with the restaurant manager to make sure she would be there when we got there. I told him don't even tell you dog, we want this to be a surprise," Elliott said.

One unique part of the initiative is that the friends leave the tip and leave before the waitress finds it.


"We don't see their reactions as we typically skedaddle right after. One year we did have a waitress run out into the parking lot to thank us," Smart said.


Another impressive part of Good Tidings and Tips is that community members donate money and are not privied to who will get the funds.


The money comes in all forms as some people give $5 while others give $100.


"We don't want people to feel apprehensive because they can't give a certain amount, and we never tell the server who gave what," Elliott said.


You can donate by following Kati on Facebook and there is a Cashapp, Venmo and PayPal account.


"We can also meet up in person and I appreciate how people trust us with their money," she added.


They plan to surprise another Dearborn County waitress this weekend. Donations are currently being accepted.


Kati and Jessica both hope other people in Southeast Indiana create a Christmas tradition like this with their friends.

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