Rosalynd Harris, a local waitress, had arrived at work that morning still high off the energy from the Women’s March. As a waitress dependent on whatever tips her customers had splurged on her, she definitely did not expect her encounter with Jason White, a Texan Trump supporter, to wind up this way.
Contradicting one another on almost every level, Rosalynd and Jason had absolutely nothing in common. Fate intervened that Monday morning as he brought the two opposites together, but no one anticipated what would happened next.
Uncomfortable To Say The Least
Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant in Washington, D.C. is where “racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted” and “art, culture, and politics intentionally collide” – a vibe which was clearly distinguished by Jason White as he walked into the restaurant on the day of Trump’s inauguration, embellished with “Make America Great Again” cap. One look at the restaurant that prides itself in promoting social justice was enough for him to tell his friend he might want to remove his red cap.
Out Of Place
The African-American art hanging down from the ceilings and the vibrant works pinned against the walls practically pointed fingers at the three white Texan men the minute they walked in the restaurant. Knowing they were utterly out of place, Jason mumbled under his breath that he could sense people in the restaurant knew they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. One glimpse at the approaching waitress who was about to greet them gave away that’s what she was thinking, too.
But Rosalynd, 25, was the last one to judge, even as the most random appearing group decided to dine in her section of the restaurant. In fact, Rosalynd only had one thing on her mind – the Women’s March, and how buzzed with energy it made her feel. Most of her frequent customers were also at that same march, all walking for the same cause and supporting one another in the recent social demonstration. It was for this reason Rosalynd felt particularly joyous as she greeted Jason and his friends.
Go With The Flow
The conversation flowed naturally. Jason, 37, explained how they were all from West Texas, that he was a dentist – and then he complimented Rosalynd’s teeth. What he didn’t spill just yet is the fact that just a few days prior to dining in the restaurant, he and his friends had flown from Texas to the nation’s capital in order to attend President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Regardless, they were all easygoing and had a nice, fun, casual chat.
Pride And Prejudice
Later, Rosalynd did admit to act in a way that was completely off her usual character. She explained how, despite how the baseball cap with Trump’s famous message and its signature Republican red hue was hidden from sight, she could smell they Trump supporters from a mile away. She did judge them, by instantly assuming they were in town for President Trump’s inauguration by appearance alone – “You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you,” she said later.
It Was A Difficult Time For Her
It’s not hard to understand why Rosalynd was quick to judge, as she wasn’t exactly feeling her usual self. A professional dancer, Rosalynd began waitressing about a year and a half before the incident to make some side money to pay her bills, since dancing gigs weren’t cutting it. Additionally, she knew she would have to evacuate her existing apartment and move to a new one soon, which piled on the financial stress.
She needed to move to a new apartment soon and was worried about how she’ll have enough cash to pay any upfront costs. She scheduled herself to work extra shifts to ensure she had enough. And while for most people having such troubles meant being less welcoming towards others, this behavior did not apply to Rosalynd. Her personal issues didn’t stop her from being her usual, kind self – even to strangers she knew she had nothing in common with.
Keep your Enemies Close?
Despite having attended the Women’s March the day before, Rosalynd was all smiles as she took the mens’ order, providing them with the best service she could. After being all smiles and not having her own political convictions get in the way of her fulfilling her job, she walked away from them without so much as a second thought about how different their lives are. To Rosalynd, they were all human. Apparently, Jason noticed this, as what he did after that was sincerely not expected.
Not At This Table
When the men finished their meals and got ready to pay for the check, Jason decided to do the unthinkable. Over the course of the meal, the men racked up a tab of $72.60. Typically, it is common to tip American waiters and waitresses something between 15 to 20 percent for their service, depending on how kind the waiter was and how well the diners felt they were being served. In other words, Harris was expecting a maximum of $14.50 for her time spent serving White and his friends.
Jason, on the other hand, is not your common diner. Being in Washington for Trump’s inauguration and then witnessing the Women’s March the next day, Jason felt over emotional and filled with pride as he was exposed to two very different events that, for him, both events represented the very foundation of what it means to be an American. Sitting in the Busboys and Poets that Monday morning, Jason felt enlightened, as if he had a brand new perspective at life.
It Blew Him Away
The reason for this euphoric sensation was that on the previous Saturday, Jason and his friends went to Arlington Cemetery too, where he admitted to feeling overwhelmingly moved as he watched the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, thinking about how they perform the same 21-step tradition regardless of politics or who the president is. Thinking back at the emotional rollercoaster he underwent that past weekend, Jason was determined to make a difference in the world.
It Was Personal
Jason resolved to leave Rosalynd a personal message on the receipt, one that would express his true feelings towards her service that day and the general impression he had received from her as a human being. He wanted to share how his trip to Washington affected him, and to let Rosalynd know she made an impact on him – one that he would not forget for an entire lifetime. And so, without any sort of warning to his friends, he did the unthinkable.
What The Note Revealed
Jason wrote on the receipt the following message – “We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people,” the note reads. “Not race. Not gender. Just American.” Then he added, “God Bless!” But that’s not all. After leaving this heartfelt note on the receipt, Jason proceeded to make one more adjustment to the receipt he had received.
A Huge Surpise
After Jason wrote the note, he decided to Rosalynd for her hospitality in a big way, which was kept hidden away even from his very own friends who dined with him at that same table – Jason add on a hefty tip on top of the paid bill. Instead of leaving the traditional 15-20 percent tip waiters are accustomed to, Jason left an astounding amount, giving a nearly 625% tip. Indeed, he left a $450 tip on their $72.60 bill. But that’s not where his kindness stopped…
Acceptance Is Key
The $450 was a nod to Trump, the 45th President of the United States, said Jason in one interview. He explained that for him, the remarkable amount of money he topped off as a tip for the waitress as a symbolic gesture that he hoped everyone could move forward together. That message was clear – accept those who are different than you and do good to all, whenever you can, however you can. If all Americans put aside their differences, they would find they’re all alike in kindness and warmth.
Jason had apparently avoided telling his friends what he’d done. Not because he was ashamed – on the contrary. He simply did not feel the urge to brag about aiding another person when he could. He’d felt so moved by all he’d seen in Washington that weekend, and as a Trump supporter from the very beginning, he said that he believed Trump would infuse the government with new leadership and a new mindset. But it goes beyond politics, as he later clarified.
His Support For Trump
Jason made it big deal out of stressing that, yes, he is a devout Christian, but that doesn’t go to say that he must agree with all of Trump’s rhetoric. In fact, he admitted to not being on the same page as Trump 100% of the time, and said that he believes that the president sometimes speaks without thinking first. This is a fact many Trump supporters have voiced before, yet they still believe in his ways and politics.
“We have to think about being better Americans, we have to look into ourselves and how we treat one another,” Jason said. “If everyone did a little something to show respect…we can love one another.” And so, Jason and his friends were gone before Rosalynd saw the receipt and the enormous tip she was given that totaled $450 in her pocket . She read Jason’s note before she saw the tip, and felt overwhelmed with emotion as she read every word.
“You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you,” Rosalynd mentioned when she was interviewed after word about the incident reached the press. “But [the customer was] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange.” Overall, Rosalynd perceives herself and her friends to be very welcoming of those who are different from them, but even for her, this act of kindness was completely unexpected.
Moreover, Rosalynd said that she was instantly reminded not to judge any book by its cover. “This definitely reshaped my perspective. Republican, Democrat, liberal are all subcategories to what we are experiencing,” she continued. “It instills a lot of hope.” This act of kindness was especially emphasized considering Rosalynd was still feeling the good vibes from the Women’s March on Washington the day before. Rosalynd said that she was instantly reminded not to judge any book by its cover.
Rosalynd went on to express her deepest thoughts on his humble behavior, praising him greatly – “The simple fact that he didn’t want to create a scene but just wanted to let me know that this was a great experience and this is what he hopes for people in general – it was very touching. It’s really amazing and makes me want to go about my interactions with that kind of energy more often,” Rosalynd told Fox News.
Before It Backfired
In the meantime, the Busboys And Poets restaurant decided to pass it forward by sharing the note Jason left on their Twitter page. The internet can be a wonderful platform to praise those who deserve it, and that is exactly what happened – the post quickly racked up thousands of likes, retweets and positive comments. Even Rosalynd’s regular customers chirped in, filled with delight and joy about the fact that Rosalynd’s amazing personality did not go by unnoticed even by those you’d least expect to notice.
He Was Not Convinced
However, not everyone is on the same page when it comes to praising Jason for his actions. One patron at the restaurant, Jason Reynolds, was very upfront about his feelings regarding the incident – “I’m not going to applaud these guys for being decent. I just can’t. I recognize the gesture, and I commend them for extending themselves, but it’s not necessary, and it shouldn’t have to be necessary for you to see me or anyone who is unlike you as just like you. Period.”
It’s Time To Give Back
Indeed, Jason hoped the gesture would demonstrate what he had learned during his weekend in Washington, D.C. After he felt highly motivated by President Trump’s inauguration and felt moved watching the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it was time for Jason to give back to his beloved country – and what better way to do so than showing grace towards every single person in his nation, even one who differs than him greatly?
She Doesn’t Know Him
But for Jason, the act of donating a large sum towards Rosalynd as a tip and leaving that heartwarming note was because he wanted to show her that they probably have more in common than it would appear – “As I sat there I thought about the entire weekend and I thought I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me,” he told The Washington Post. “But if most Americans have a preconceived perception about people then we’re never going to get better.”
Moreover, Jason promised to live by that notion from then on – and hoped others would do the same. By accepting those who are different and viewing their diversity as the same unifying matter that bonds this great nation together, the types of things that could be bridged over and reached are unlimited. Truly, this is one event everyone can learn from, admire and repeat. After all, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Busboys and Poets, a local restaurant in Washington, D.C., was named after former busboy and noted poet Langston Hughes. The place has a unique sense of its own, serving those who are open to meeting others, discuss worldly matters and eat delicious food. Since the place prospers on general acceptance of those who are much different, it is not the type of place you would expect to find a typical Trump supporter. Rosalynd, an activist and free spirit, didn’t expect to see cowboy in her restaurant.