A waitress at a suburban IHOP restaurant thought that a visit from celebrity couple Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy would be the highlight of her New Year’s Day, but the couple’s meal was just the beginning.
Bethany Provencher, a waitress at the IHOP restaurant in suburban St. Charles, said she was excited to help Wahlberg and McCarthy when they visited the restaurant.
“As soon as he opened his mouth, I knew who he was,” she said. “I didn’t freak out at the table. I went to the bathroom and I freaked out.”
The celebrity encounter made her day, but it was the tip that the couple left on their bill that made the experience a life-changing one.
The Wahlberg’s left a tip of $2,020 on their $78 bill, along with a note that said “Happy New Year, 2020 Tip Challenge.”
Needless to say, Provencher was floored by the gesture.
“It was unreal that it really happened to me, because stuff like this never happens to me,” she said.
The "2020 Tip Challenge" is one that’s gone viral across the country, encouraging diners to leave 100% gratuity on their bills. Other diners have gone above and beyond that number. In Michigan, another waitress received a $2,020 tip from a customer. In Wisconsin, two servers split a tip of more than $4,000 as part of the phenomenon.
As for Provencher, the money could not have come at a better time. The single mom just moved from Miami into a new home near Chicago a few months ago, and the money she got will go toward furnishing the residence for her family.
“I’ve got nothing, not one thing to put in it,” she said. “Now I can completely furnish my house with my son. I’m so blessed and grateful. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Wahlberg called the restaurant on Thursday to talk to Provencher, and she said that she finally got the opportunity to thank him personally for the large tip.