Cracker Barrel waitress gets $1,200 tip as Christmas gift from strangers

Cracker Barrel waitress gets $1,200 tip as Christmas gift from strangers

Christmas arrived early for a 53-year-old Cracker Barrel waitress, who received an unexpected gift from the group of 12 strangers she served.

Janet Ballard, who’s worked at the Dublin, Georgia, restaurant for more than a decade, was tipped $1,200 by the diners, who each gave $100, reports Today.

The generous gift even came in a Christmas card.

“I read the card and it had Scriptures on it, which let me know they were good people,” Ballard, a mother of two grown children, told Today.

She opened it and was stunned to find the cash inside. It came at the right time, as Ballard needed the cash to pay her taxes and an early car payment — which boosted her credit score.

“Counting the money, I got so choked up by the time I got to $400,” she said. “They wanted me to count out loud … I had 12 total strangers saying, ‘Hey, we care enough about you because of how you made us feel while we were dining, and we want to be a blessing to you and your family.’ ”

The group of 12 diners, all Christian churchgoers, set out that day to surprise a person for a greater purpose — a blessing to ring in the holiday season.

“What a wonderful day with friends as we celebrate our 1st Annual 100 dollar breakfast,” one of the patrons, James Deal, wrote on Facebook. “We all gave our waitress Janet a $1,200 tip. May God have the Glory for all that is done in his name. Merry Christmas Janet!!!!”

This being the season of giving, Ballard was quick to pay it forward. She soon went to a seafood lunch, where she gave her own server a big tip. After, she tipped a manicurist before her pedicure even began.

“Because of the gift of love, and caring and sharing, I’m able to not only be a better Janet, but I am able to be an example for people this time of year who don’t have hope,” she said.

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