Lifestyle & Human Interest

Parents Leave Note with $100 Tip for Hardworking Teacher Working Second Job at Restaurant


Teaching is often a difficult, thankless task. There are bright spots when you get to witness “aha” moments or watch one of your students take off and do really well, but there’s a lot of worrying over them as well.

Teaching positions are rarely lucrative. It’s no secret that many teachers have to stretch their resources just to provide an inviting space and necessary supplies.

Catherine Acampora-Nielson is a special education teacher at Lakewood Middle School in New Jersey, according to Yahoo Lifestyle.

According to the General Counsel for the Lakewood Board of Education, Michael Inzelbuch, Acampora-Nielson is “an excellent staff member.”

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Despite being an outstanding teacher, she also works weekends at Woolley’s Seafood House Restaurant as a waitress, making some extra money. Recently, a couple came in for a meal and learned of Acampora-Nielson’s plight.

When they paid for their meal, they left the teacher a substantial tip and added a heartfelt note to the receipt.

“Thank you for teaching our kids — teachers shouldn’t have to work weekends!” the handwriting read.

Touched by this kind move, Acampora-Nielson shared a photo of the receipt and the story with a private group on Facebook.

“To the couple that came into Woolley’s today and left this for me, I can’t thank you enough — lucky there are people out there who appreciate hard workers — hope you two enjoyed your day away from the kids,” Acampora-Nielson wrote.

A related public page shared her post so that others could enjoy the heartwarming story.

“Wanted to share a great story that was shared on the Howell Happenings NJ Group Page,” the Howell Happenings NJ page wrote. “We truly have amazing people who live in and around Howell and yes, our teachers are so important.”

“We hope this note gets back to this couple and let’s them know how much of an impact they made in this person’s life and a huge thank you for making a difference.”

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“That made my day almost as much as it made yours!” Cathy Oddo McQuillan wrote on the Howell Happenings post. “Great to see good people recognizing good people!”

“Awesome!” Jim DeMarco commented. “Teachers don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

“Wow, that was amazing,” Brenda Mersinger wrote. “Glad teachers are appreciated by some ppl instead of saying you guys are off holidays & the summer. That is far from the truth.”

The $100 tip was certainly a kind gesture from the couple, and knowing Acampora-Nielson’s good reputation, that money will probably — in some way — come full-circle and help her educational efforts.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking