A single mom from Maine was shocked when a stranger tipped her $500 during her shift at a local Denny's restaurant.
"Yesterday was the day I met Santa," wrote Trisha Murphy, of Ellsworth, after the surprising act of generosity. Murphy was waitressing on Dec. 16 when a group of three men came into the restaurant for a meal, according to WGHP.
Murphy, a mother of four, had recently gotten a bill of $735 after her car was towed, and hadn't finished her Christmas shopping yet.
"I was so stressed I could barely function," wrote Murphy in a Facebook post. "I went into work, racking my brain as to how I was going to pull this off."
Murphy wrote that she considered working extra shifts and doing odd jobs to pick up extra money, but that would mean she would have to pay money for a baby-sitter as well.
Murphy said work was slow that day, and she didn't have high expectations when the three men came in.
"They all looked a little grungy and judging by their demeanor, I figured a average tip," wrote the mom. "The older of the three kept asking me about Christmas. I just told him I'm in it for my kids, but besides that, I don't really get into it all that much."
Murphy said she led the man to believe she was married and kept on with "pleasant, yet safely distant" conversation.
"When I gave him the bill, he told me I had to cash him out," Murphy continued. "I let him know that the hostess does that. He insisted I go to the register and cash him out. I thought it a little odd, but obliged anyway."
That was when Murphy saw the shocking bill. The man had left her a $500 tip on a bill of $35.64.
"When he put his card in, he had a huge, ear to ear, smile," wrote Murphy. "The receipt printed and I almost collapsed! I looked up at this grungy looking man, my face as white as snow, and tears in my eyes."
"He just smiled again and said 'Merry Christmas dear,' and almost danced out of the restaurant," said Murphy. "He came back in to make sure I didn't have a heart attack. I still might!"
Murphy was so shocked by the man's gesture that she didn't get his name. She expressed her gratitude online in her post.
"He literally saved Christmas for my children and I!" wrote Murphy. "Good people do still exist."
Murphy said that she was going to use the money to help get her car back, reports CBS News.
"Now I'm able to spend the money I'll make this week on gifts for the kids," said Murphy. "I don't have to stress about giving them a Christmas. I'll be able to spend more time with them than if I had had to work extra shifts to cover the deficit."