NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) — Like so many other Americans during quarantine, Lexy Burke created a TikTok account on social media. It’s an app that allows you to watch videos with different kinds of original content.
Burke is a photographer who was out of work during the pandemic. She found herself spending a lot of time on TikTok. Scrolling through the app, she noticed the “Venmo Challenge” trending. The challenge involves TikTok users asking their followers for money to buy something. So, Burke came up with an idea called “The Tipping Challenge” to help pay it forward during these tough times.
“If you live in Nashville, there’s a good chance that you’ve been in the service industry at some point, whether you’re a struggling musician or just at the beginning of your career. My husband and I were both servers downtown for quite some time. And I had actually gotten $1,000 dollar tip back in college and that really just stuck with me. It meant a lot and I knew I always wanted to pay it forward.”
Burke started asking her followers for money to help those struggling in the service industry. Her goal was to make between $100-500 dollars. Her followers ending up raising more than $3,000 dollars to give out in the first round.
Burke and her husband take the money to different places around Middle Tennessee to tip people at random.
“We just pick a place we either haven’t been to in a while, or a place that somebody has recommended to us and we just go in. Literally every single time before we walk in, I get so nervous because you just hope it lines up with the right person.”
Burke told News 2 she got especially nervous before handing out a $1,000 dollar tip to employees at Daddy’s Dogs.
“The first one was Double Dogs Restaurant, the one near Sylvan Park, then we went to Superica the first round. We’ve done a Postmates driver who was also a teacher. We did Daddy’s Dogs last week. This was super special because Daddy’s Dogs, they do so much here in Nashville. They’ve given away so many free meals to people who need it.”
Burke said watching each person react to the money is something she will never forget.
“We’ve had quite a few very emotional reactions. And mostly everyone we’ve given them money to, they’ve told us that it’s not going to end with them that they’re going to pass it on. It’s just been something really cool that has kind of fell into my lap, but I feel super lucky to be on this side of it.”
Burke has raised more than $17,000 dollars so far. She said the buck doesn’t stop there.
“With everyone on TikTok, you sent 50 cents, $1, $5 like every little bit counts, and if all those people didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be helping out so many people are making so many days. So, even if it’s just a little bit, you’re a part of a bit bigger picture always. This has been the coolest thing, but I can’t take credit because it’s been all my followers constantly being a part of it and sending money and just being so encouraging.”
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.