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Pregnant Teen Waitress Gets $1,000 Tip

March 18, 2006

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ The couple at one of waitress Amanda Newkirk’s many tables seemed ordinary enough. The woman ordered a turkey burger, fries and two Coors Lights. The man had a bacon cheeseburger and sweet tea.

Their bill came to $26.35. They left Newkirk $1,000.

Newkirk, seven months pregnant and teary with excitement, read the handwritten note on the check: ``Keep the change! Have a great day.″

The 19-year-old thought it had to be a joke. But the manager at Ruby Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the ten $100 bills with a counterfeit-detection pen.

Newkirk couldn’t figure out why the couple had given her such a generous tip. She didn’t think her service had been very good.

A couple days after the March 7 incident, Newkirk got her answer.

A 28-year-old widow who said she’d been going through a tough time called Newkirk’s general manager and said she’d left the tip while at lunch with her fiance.

``It involved a lot more than good service at a great restaurant,″ said Erin Dogan of Roanoke County. ``I didn’t need it. It helped someone who ... needed it. God put us there together. God answered my questions.″

Dogan, whose husband died last year, said she’s a shopaholic and could have easily spent the money at a nearby mall. But she decided to put it to better use.

``It made me feel phenomenal,″ Dogan said. ``It has changed my life.″

Newkirk plans to use some of the money to help pay for medical bills related to her pregnancy. But aside from a few national radio and television appearances, life continues as normal for the teen.

``I’m not going to retire with a thousand dollars,″ she said with a laugh.

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