It all started with a story a 26-year-old Ohio woman heard on the radio. It was a news report about a couple who set out to change the day of the grumpiest waitress they could find by
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, still isn't quite sure why the story popped into her head when Khadijah Muhammad's smiling face greeted them at their Cheddar's restaurant booth on Clinton Highway.
"She was very caring," recalled the woman's husband, who says despite his "pain in the butt" eating habits, Muhammad seemed to happily anticipate their family's needs.
"She must be a mother," remarked the wife to her husband. But it turned out it was Muhammad's role as a daughter that had recently led her to the role of caretaker.
Earlier this month, she rushed to Ohio to be at her mother's bedside after she suffered a heart attack. Her mother recovered, but the waitress' finances suffered while she was away from work.
"All I wanted was to see my mother one more time. With God's help, I managed to make it up there, driving in the middle of the big snow storm that hit earlier this month. I was able to see her and she pulled through, thankfully," Muhammad told WBIR on Thursday.
"When I got back home in Knoxville, it started to sink in how much work I missed and that I was not going to be able to pay all of my bills. I've been trying to pick up any extra shifts that I can,"
On Wednesday, Muhammad left for her shift at Cheddar's with a KUB final notice on her doorknob notifying her that the power was going to be shut off.
But everything changed after that Wednesday shift.
The young family seated in Muhammad's section had recently left their church after moving to East Tennessee from Ohio and were unsure how to designate the money budgeted for their monthly tithing.
And it was an unexpectedly good month for their young family, including a 10-year-old son. They made money after the sale of their Ohio home, and the 35-year-old husband received a bonus at work.
Using the biblical formula for tithing, which commands 10 percent, they decided to leave Muhammad a tip totaling $1,075.
"We kept feeling Jesus was telling us it was okay, don't fret about the money," said the husband, who initially hesitated when his wife suggested the idea.
They called their bank from the booth before finishing their meal to let them know a large amount would post to their credit card, filled in the tip, turned over the bill and left the restaurant.
They wish to remain anonymous, referencing a passage from the Bible:
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6: 1-4
After watching WBIR's story they did decide to write a note to Muhammad reading in part:
"We are so very thrilled that you were able to be blessed by our tip... God put it on my heart after having your amazing service we knew that He had given us this money to give to you. God Bless You!"