On March 1, a waiter at Murfreesboro’s Boulevard Bar and Grille received a $100 tip from a couple who, after paying their bill, quietly slipped out through a side exit before he could express their gratitude. They didn’t see his reaction because they planned it that way. After so much tragedy in their lives, Jeanie and Ken Tucker now carefully guard their emotions. They’ve been through far too much suffering, and they’d like to spread a little joy without causing a ruckus.
“There is a difference between joyfulness and happiness,” Ken Tucker said. “Happiness is temporary. Joyfulness is what we are trying to get to.” This is why they tried to make the day of someone turn for the better.
The Tuckers started leaving large tips for servers in Middle Tennessee restaurants in 2013, mostly in Murfreesboro. They keep track of their donations, and the tip at The Boulevard last Tuesday was the 14th time they’d left between $100 and $600. “It gives us great hope to do this,” Jeanie Tucker said. “For just a few minutes, it pulls us out of our situation.” After hearing about the Tuckers’ tips, some of their friends began to contribute to the Tuckers’ tips. Kindness is indeed contagious.
The couple did this in memory of their son whom they lost tragically. The story goes that in 1998, they were at a restaurant and their son, Alex, left his bracelet as a special tip for the server. Alex was concerned about the people who waited tables for some reason. He frequently requested that his parents leave larger tips. “You can judge the character of a person by watching them interact with servers,” Ken Tucker said. Eventually, Alex went on to work as a waiter.
But tragedy struck in 2013. The Truckers received a call that Alex had been killed in a Nashville traffic accident. He was survived by his wife and daughter. “We were lower than we could possibly be,” Ken Tucker said.
They were adamant about not leaving the house. They didn’t want to interact with each other. They were adamant about not eating. Mike Sanchez, a friend of theirs, recognized their distress and offered them $250 in exchange for a nice dinner. Another suggestion from Sanchez was to leave a large tip.
“I thought it was a great idea,” Jeanie Tucker said. “But I didn’t think we could physically do it.” It was almost too much to think about being out with people and eating. They decided to spend the $250 at Marina’s on the Square, Alex’s favorite restaurant, in June 2013. That night, they tried their hardest to strike up a conversation with the waitress. They discovered she was a Middle Tennessee State University student.
Then Tuckers were blessed with another son, Hayden. But he also tragically died of an aneurysm. But the couple trusted God more than ever. “I have never doubted that God loved me,” Jeanie Tucker said. “God didn’t do this,” Ken Tucker said.
One of the servers they tipped thanked them on social media in 2021. The Tuckers were identified as the mysterious couple who had left money. “People jumped on the bandwagon,” Jeanie Tucker said.
Kindness is always welcome in a world full of hate and sadness. The greatest kindness given to us is the love that God showed to us through the cross. We were enemies yet God, who is rich in mercy, madeus His children. Let us continue to do good to others.