LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County brewery that received a surprise $1,000 tip from a Lakeland-based non-profit organization recently was so inspired by the act of kindness that they decided to pay it forward to surprise another small business.
“It said $1,000 and I wasn’t sure if you meant to do that,” an employee at Mister Fish in Lakeland said.
She was being filmed by volunteers at “The Big Fat Tip” who stunned her and her coworkers with a $1,000 tip late last month.
“Wow, thank you, thank you,” said Evie Killinger.
That morning, Killinger went on a run around the lake and prayed for help. She was struggling to pay her mother’s medical bills.
“I was so shocked because it’s really unexpected. In my mind when I heard it all, I was so shocked and I said ‘Oh thank god it really answers my prayer,’” she said.
The Mister Fish tip was a product of paying it forward, courtesy of another local business.
“Can you check the math on that? I don’t know if that’s right,” a Big Fat Tip volunteer said before cracking a smile on a previous video.
In the video, Dissent Craft Brewing Company General Manager Mike Redmond went away to grab a receipt and came back puzzled.
“No it wasn’t right,” he said.
“What is it? What does it say?” asked the volunteer.
“It’s like a grand, dude,” he said.
The St. Petersburg-based brewery opened its downtown Lakeland location in October. The volunteers said the surprise big tip was a way to welcome it to the neighborhood.
“It’s just one of those things that’s very refreshing that people still do things like that and that these people are actually out there trying to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Redmond.
When the brewery co-owner Chris Price found out, he was inspired. He and his wife donated $1,000 to Big Fat Tip, which was then given to the employees at Mister Fish.
“That’s the foundation of the community, right, is small business. I think if you go out of your way to support small business then you’re supporting the foundation of the community,” said Price.
The founder of Big Fat Tip did not want to do an interview Friday, instead wanting the focus to be on the volunteers and recipients. Her organization has done 31 “drops” in the last few years, all funded by donations.
She said more donations are needed for future giveaways. Donations are accepted on the Big Fat Tip website.