Being a waiter or waitress can be challenging at times, facing customers who aren’t always friendly, complain or, even worse, don’t tip well.
Chelsea Roff, who works as a waitress at Spring Street Smokehouse in LA, faces plenty of everyday struggles, raising her little sister, overcoming an eating disorder, and helping others with eating disorders through yoga. While she may face personal and financial obstacles, she works hard and always has a smile on her face.
She recalled coming to work one particular day in a bad mood, telling NBC News: “I remember my boss… he was like, ‘Dude, snap out of it. You’re a waitress. You have to have a smile on your face. Like, get to it.’ And I was like, all right, all right, I’ll put a smile on my face, OK.”
It turned out to be an amazing shift…at one point during her lunch shift, she received a $1000 tip! She wasn’t sure what to do, but her boss said to keep it, as she explained: “I’ve been working at the Smoke House for five months and my biggest tip over that time has probably been $50, maybe. I remember thinking, we all earned this. Every waitress on duty and our whole team earned this tip.”
What Chelsea didn’t know is that the restaurant had hidden cameras for a prank show on Defy Media’s YouTube channel Break, called Prank It Forward. The goal of the prank was to give someone a well-deserved break and spread positivity.
The good fortune didn’t end there, as she also received these life changing tips: a trip for two to Hawaii and a job offer to teach yoga in a treatment center for those struggling with eating disorders.
Chelsea explained: “It happened so fast, and I was so blown away, I was like what? What is happening today? It’s just too weird.”
Those weren’t the only surprises Chelsea received that day, as a customer handed her car keys, asking her to go outside. Confused, she left the restaurant, where she was presented with a new car. Her yoga teacher emerged from the vehicle for the ultimate surprise.
Chelsea said, “I was so happy. That woman was like a mom to me, in so many different ways. And she taught me the practice that saved my life… I adore her, she … I hadn’t seen her in years, and she knows how important she is to me. But I very rarely get to tell her that in person.”
She called it “the best part of the day.”
The whole prank wasn’t lost on her, as she noted: “What restores my faith in humanity are the people who show up in love in a time of need. And that’s what’s been given to me, and that’s what I get to re-experience over and over again, when I get to show up for somebody else.”
As for her personal healing through yoga and paying it forward to others, Chelsea noted that she found how helpful the practice was with her eating disorder struggles, noting, “I stepped onto the yoga mat and I just felt at home in my own skin for the first time I could remember,” adding, “I learned to do different meditations… It took me to a whole new level in recovery.”