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Waitress receives $500 ‘awesome tip’ as man honors brother’s dying wish

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Julie Bombria went to her job as waitress Wednesday night and came home with an ‘awesome’ tip of $500 for serving a table of 8. According to Yahoo! News on Dec. 6, Bombria never expected to have the night she had working at Friendly’s restaurant in Springfield, Vt.

The 18-year-old became the 81st recipient of the ‘awesome tip’ from Seth Collins, a 34-year-old man who has been travelling the country for the last year trying to carry out the dying wish of his younger brother, Aaron Collins.

Aaron died unexpectedly in 2012 from unknown causes at the age of 30. Seth, from Lexington, KY, discovered his brother’s will on his computer after he died. One of the instructions in the will said, "Leave an awesome tip (and I don't mean 25%. I mean $500 on a … pizza)." That’s just what Collins has been doing ever since.

Collins s travelling to every state and awarding $500 tips to waiters and waitresses in honor of his kid brother. He describes Aaron as always being a generous guy saying that even as a kid, he often felt his parents weren’t leaving a large enough tip and would add money of his own to the tip on the table.

This past week, Collins drove to Lexington where a friend offered to put him up. The friend suggested the restaurant, a favorite with locals, because the staff didn’t often receive big tips and would be “especially appreciative."

Bombria was working that night and just happened to get the group of 8. She has worked there for 3 years and currently attends the local community college while she saves money to go to a university.

When the meal was finished, Collins presented Bombria with the cash and a brief explanation of his mission. Initially, she was dumbstruck and stared at Collins in disbelief. Once she understood what was happening, she was very appreciative. Collins was touched not by her reaction to the money but to the message.

Collins made the first ‘awesome tip’ in July of 2012 and posted a video of the event. It went viral and the family’s website,, received tons of messages and donations. Collins is using that money, $50,000 and growing, to fulfill his brother’s wish. He posts the video of each tip he passes on.

With 81 tis of $500 completed, Collins is set to complete his road trip sometime in January and will make another 31 tips between now and then. By then he will have visited all 50 states but says he won’t stop there.

He is hoping people will submit the names of waiters and waitresses online who are deserving along with a little bit of their story. He says as long as he has money, he will “keep finding servers and leaving them $500 tips."

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