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Waitress gets huge tip then gives it away

Goan was serving a meal of sushi and duck to a customer that was about to change her day for the better.

NEW ORLEANS — When Ava Goan walked into work Saturday, little did she know, her prayers would be answered by a man who came in for a late dinner.   

“I can’t believe it,” said Goan.   

Using money she made as a server at Hoshun Restaurant on St. Charles Avenue, Goan had just given $300 to her church, Olive Church in Metairie, because the air conditioning has long-needed repairs. She prayed to God for more help.  

It came when Abdual Hamideh sat down in a booth and ordered two sushi rolls and a duck dish.    

“I went in and sat in the restaurant, ordered food, a lot of food,” said Hamideh. “She asked me, ‘are you sure you want to order that much.’ I said, ‘yeah, I want to order that much.’”   

When the meal was over and paid for, Hamideh left. Goan cleaned the table, picked up the signed receipt, and was shocked. There was a $777 tip added to the $63 bill.   

“Maybe something’s wrong, maybe the guy signed it wrong, so I can’t believe it,” said Goan.  

A native of China, Goan says her English isn’t so great and worries about it impacting her service. To make sure that tip was right, she started asking co-workers.   

“Everybody tells me it’s right, so I was surprised,” said Goan. 

The surprise also came with a note, telling her to take the night off.  

“I asked the manager. Manager said ‘no, you need to work,’” joked Goan as she laughed.  

Feeling the tip was a gift from God, Goan gave every dollar to her church. The lucky jackpot was all about numbers and paying it forward for Hamideah. He had just opened a new IHOP restaurant in Thibodaux that day.  

“For whatever reason I saw that restaurant and said, ‘you know what, we opened up a new restaurant, let me go celebrate,’” said Hamideah.  

After leaving the restaurant, Hamideah expected that to be the end of it. It wasn’t, and still isn’t. Hearing about what his server did with the money prompted Hamideah to offer to pay for the church’s air conditioning repairs, which church leaders says is about $7,200. 

“We’re just really happy to be able to give back in even such a small way,” said Hamideah. 

It’s a small way, making a big difference. Thursday at noon Hamideah is set to hand over a check to cover the rest of the money needed to get that broken AC unit fixed.  

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