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Singer Donnie Wahlberg Leaves Server at IHOP $2,020 Tip on $78 Bill

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Not all trends that bloom out of internet challenges are beneficial. The Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge is a memorable example of how quickly a dumb fad can spread, leaving plenty of people (generally those who fell in the “teen” category) with regrettable photos, and for some, serious damage.

But as 2019 melted into 2020, along with a ton of dad-level vision jokes, a new trend has stepped forward — and this one is nice.

It’s called the “2020 Tip Challenge,” and the goal is to bless a server with a tip in 2020 form. For those of lesser funds, that could be $20.20 — still a nice tip for an average meal out.

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For those with a little more disposable income, that could mean $202.00 or $2,020.00 — a very generous move, indeed.

Donnie Wahlberg — yes, Mark Wahlberg’s brother — is known as an actor on “Blue Bloods” and “The Sixth Sense,” and also as a founding member of “New Kids on the Block” according to WQAD. The star decided to start the year off right with a generous tip on his IHOP bill.

The total for the restaurant located in St. Charles, Illinois, came out to $78.46, but Wahlberg tacked on a $2,020 tip.

“Thanks Bethany,” he wrote at the top of the receipt. “Happy New Year” and “2020 Tip Challenge” were both written on the scrap of paper as well, punctuated with a smiley face.

Wahlberg’s wife Jenny posted a photo of the receipt to Twitter, writing “@DonnieWahlberg starting 2020 off like the amazing man he is.”

Wahlberg isn’t the only one to surprise a waitress with a generous tip. Danielle Franzoni of Alpena, Michigan, works at Thunder Bay River Restaraunt, and recently received a $2,020 tip on a $23 bill.

Would you try the 2020 Tip Challenge?

The tippers remained anonymous, but Franzoni was overwhelmed with their kindness — especially because the money meant so much to her in ways the kind patrons couldn’t have known.

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“They don’t know nothing about my story, they don’t know where I’ve come from, they don’t know how hard it’s been,” Franzoni, a recovering addict, told The Alpena News. “They’re really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart.”

“It was the best thing for my recovery to move up here,” she explained. “It was the only thing that was going to keep me clean.”

While she used $20.20 of the gift to tip another server after getting dinner that night, she has exciting plans for the rest of the money — especially because she and her daughters are moving into their first home.

“I might finish my girls’ bedrooms,” she said. “I’ve never been able to do that. I can’t wait.”

So what do you think — could you spare an extra $20.20 to brighten someone’s day?

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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