After being greeted with a homophobic note in place of a tip this past Monday, a Madison, Wisconsin area server returned to work the following day to be greeted by a friend and a $4,500.00 tip.
On Monday, Eric Salzwedel's friend showed him a receipt from a table he had been waiting on.
In place of a tip, the customer left a homophobic note, declaring:
"Service was good, but we don't give to sinful homosexuals."
Salzwedel told Wisconsin's Channel 3000 he was horrified someone would treat someone that way based purely on their sexual orientation.
"This really upset me that someone would do something like this."
"To go to the extent of saying it was good service, but because of their sexual orientation, they decided not to give them a tip."
Luckily for this server, Salzwedel is in the business of paying it forward, literally.
Salzwedel is both the co-founder of the Do Good Wisconsin Facebook page, a page dedicated to sharing acts of kindness performed all over Wisconsin, and back in the summer of 2020 started the Venmo Challenge, a program where he donates 100% of donations to his allotted Venmo account to hard working servers in restaurants throughout the Madison area.
Salzwedel shared the upsetting receipt his server friend received on the Do Good Wisconsin Tour Facebook page.
In the post, Salzwedel declared he was starting another Venmo challenge and all money raised would be donated to the waiter.
He also made a point in saying while he knew this gesture wouldn't erase the homophobia this waiter received, he hoped it would at least show him his hard work and kindness doesn't go unnoticed.
"We know unfortunately this [money] won't change some people's behaviors, but hopefully it will show the amount of [love] there is for this server."
Salzwedel would later tell Channel 3000 his mission wasn't only to show this waiter how appreciated he was, but also to prove in these trying and troubled times, there is still an abundant amount of good in this world.
"Seeing this receipt, I immediately wanted to do another #VenmoChallenge, specifically for the reason to show there is more love than hate in this world and to life their spirits."
36 hours later, over 250 people from all over the country made a contribution, with the final total coming out to just over $4,500.
Salzwedel surprised his friend at the restaurant this past Tuesday, presenting him with his $4.5K tip.
"On Tuesday evening we were able to surprise the server with the tip and to let them know that people love them for who they are and to not listen to those who just want to spread hate onto others."
Salzwedel went on to say his friend, who asked to remain anonymous, was "surprised from the tip and extremely grateful."
Salzwedel also posted a follow up on both his personal Facebook page, as well as both the Do Good Wisconsin Tour and Do Good Wisconsin pages.
The post included a tastefully passive aggressive jab Salzwedel left for his friend's homophobic customers.
"To the folks who felt it was necessary to write this hateful note and not tip...don't worry, me and about 250 others will cover the tip for you."
Salzwedel's kind and selfless gesture warmed the hearts of countless people, who expressed the joy this story brought them on Facebook.
Salzwedel is the owner and founder of Intentional Purpose Consulting, a company he founded in March of 2020 which is dedicated to helping companies with their charitable outreach and giving.
Salzwedel told Channel 3000 he was inspired to start the Venmo challenge after all of the trials and tribulations he faced launching his own company in the midst of the pandemic, only inspiring him all the more to do better and pay it forward.
Indeed, while one can only imagine how grateful all the server's Salzwedel has rewarded through the Venmo challenge are for the money, they must be even more moved by the generosity of Salzwedel and his donors.