When I gave them their ticket, the husband handed it back to me with a twenty, and then asked if I had to share my tips with everyone in the restaurant. (This is a surprisingly common question.) I told him no, and then said with a smile that I'd be right back with his change. He stopped me by handing out a crisp one hundred dollar bill.
I froze. I didn't know what to do. My brain had made the connection between his question and the money, but I didn't believe it and didn't want to assume. I think I stared at him for a good twenty seconds before asking in what must I think was a confused croak if he needed more change.
"No, that's all for you." he said with a smile. His wife beamed at me ... and me?
I cried. I'd been so fucking stressed out about money for days - I felt like I was hallucinating. A hundred bucks isn't a fuckton of money, but it was exactly what I needed that day. I cried, and I thanked them so many times they must have thought I had some thankful version of Tourette's, and I hugged them both.
And after the shock wore off, I soaked up the jealousy of my coworkers with great enjoyment, because in eleven years I had never before gotten the "holiday" tip.