MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — You could call them Secret Santa and Mysterious Mrs. Claus, surprising servers with the 12 days of Tip-mas. But this mission started long before the holiday season.

“Back when the pandemic started and they started closing down the restaurants, and they started making them half capacity, cutting servers hours, we were fortunate enough to still be doing okay money-wise, so we decided we were going to start helping people who were struggling,” said the co-creator of Tipping in the Boro. 

In August of 2020, the Murfreesboro husband and wife team, along with their kids, started handing out generous tips to servers. They don’t want to identify themselves so they don’t blow their cover, and so the focus is on the recipients. The family started the Tipping in the Boro Facebook page and the community has been steadily making donations, so the effort can continue and grow. 

“Just the expression on their faces makes you feel so happy that you’re able to help somebody, even just in the smallest way put food on their table or pay their car payments or make their rent for that month,” said the wife in this anonymous pair.

“Most of the time they’re in shock,” the husband said. “As soon as we turn the camera off, that’s when they break down, they start crying or they start saying you don’t know how much I needed this. Thank you so much; this is going to help get groceries or this is going to help pay our electric bill.”

The couple picks the servers at random, whoever serves them that night, that’s who gets the big tip. But it often feels like fate. Like earlier this month, when they tipped Mariah at Applebee’s on S. Rutherford Boulevard. The video has 1.6 million views on TikTok. 

“You are kidding me! I can’t take this,” Mariah said, shocked. “I live in a shelter, and I just went to an apartment meeting today. I have to have $600 dollars, and I had no idea where I was going to get the money.”

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The family doubled her tip to make sure she had the full $600 she needed, just in time for Christmas.  See more of these surprise tip encounters on the Tipping in the Boro Facebook page.

Other ways to donate: 

  • Cash App: $tippingintheboro,
  • Venmo: @Tippingintheboro 
  • Paypal: Tippingintheboro@comcast.net