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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A server at the IHOP in West Des Moines got the surprise of a lifetime when she received a $1,300 tip on Thanksgiving Day.

“I’m a server and I’ve been server for about two and a half maybe three years,” said Shelby Thill, a server at IHOP.

Thill said the best part about being a server is the social interaction, but she also said the pay isn’t always great.

“We don’t even get minimum wage. We get about $4 an hour, so we really heavily rely on our tips because our paycheck every two weeks is maybe less than $100,” Thill said.

You can imagine her surprise when she served Des Moines photographer Mirza Kudic on Thanksgiving Day and Kudic handed her a $1,300 tip on his $10 waffle.

“He said, ‘Well, it’s your lucky day. You get $1300.’ I’m like, ‘Wow, thank you so much.’ I didn’t know how to react, and I started instantly crying,” Thill said.

But this money didn’t all come out of Kudic’s pocket. He sent out a request on his social media platforms to raise money to surprise a random server with a big tip.

“It’s amazing to see all these people getting together and actually helping out the restaurant community,” Thill said.

“I know with COVID, many people are not going out to restaurants, and a lot of waitstaff need their tips to make ends meet,” Kudic said.

Kudic said around 50 people donated.

“And that’s the big thing is that if we all come together, we can do more. If I can come in here and drop a $20 tip, that’s fine. It’s still good, but if we can raise $1,000 or $2,000 and do that, then it makes a real big difference,” Kudic said.

“It was perfect timing for Christmas so I could go out and spend time with my family instead of working all the time so I didn’t have to rely on the tips to pay my bills and stuff,” Thill said.

Kudic is asking for more donations for Christmas to surprise families who can’t afford presents for their kids. You can donate to his Venmo account @mirzakudic