The weekend that followed the inauguration of President Donald Trump was nothing short of eventful for African-American waitress Rosalynd Harris, who actively and proudly took part in the Women’s March on Washington that followed the historic event.
So when three white men wearing “Make America Great Again” hats were seated at her table for dinner that evening, she could have never expected the treatment she’d receive.
After all, the men were at Busboys & Poets, a D.C. restaurant that promotes social justice. Their walls are covered in African-American art and images, and here sit three white boys with Trump hats on.
The 25-year-old waitress knew as well as the men did that they stuck out like sore thumbs, but she greeted them with a bright smile, and welcomed them like any guest. They joyfully greeted her back, and told her they were in town from West Texas.
In the back of her mind, Harris assumed that the men were Trump supporters in town for the inauguration. But she shrugged it off and treated them like any other customer.
The interactions between the men and their waitress was nothing out of the ordinary—just kindness, respect and some good laughs.
When they finished their meal, the total for their bill was $72.60, but the man who paid, 37-year-old Jason White, left her one generous tip—$450, and a note.
“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. Not race. Not gender. Just American. God Bless!”
White later explained that the $450 tip was a nod to the 45th president, and a symbolic gesture saying he hoped everyone could move forward together. Being in Washington for Trump’s inauguration and then witnessing the Women’s March the next day, White felt both events represented the very definition of what it means to be an American.
The restaurant posted a photo of the receipt along with the statement, “We rise by lifting others. A lovely act of kindness.”
Harris says the interaction really shifted her perspective:
“You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you…but [the customer is] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange.”
She continued, “This definitely reshaped my perspective. Republican, Democrat, liberal are all subcategories to what we are experiencing,” she said. “It instills a lot of hope.”
She also says that the generous tip couldn’t have come at a better time. A professional dancer by trade, Harris started waitressing just over a year ago to make extra money and pay her bills. She’s needing to move to a new apartment soon, and didn’t know how she would cover the up-front costs. She says the extra $450 is “a huge weight off my shoulders.”