Teen Waitress Loses Both Parents—Then She Gets a Surprise Tip That Changes Her Life

Many individuals go through hardships that showcase how strong they truly are. When people face adversity, it can be an uphill battle. There are some individuals in the world who handle things with such grace and bravery, even loss. Losing one’s parents can be a very trying experience—especially when you are young.

Joy Hundorf lost both of her parents while she was still a high school student. The Rushford-Peterson High School student was dealing with more than most high school students ever have to.

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Joy shared that during her freshman year, her father was placed in a nursing home. He needed round-the-clock care and was diagnosed with dementia. She was living only with her mother.

Unfortunately, when Joy was 8, her mother had also been diagnosed with an illness. As a high school student, Joy was going to school but also drove back and forth to visit her mother in the hospital and her father in his nursing home.

Stumpy’s Took Her In

Joy Hundorf and mother

When her mother was on her deathbed, she asked Pat and Judy, the owners of Stumpy’s restaurant, to be Joy’s guardians. The teen ended up working there, as the owners not only were her now-guardians but also knew her growing up through her parents and family.

Throughout high school and after, Joy continued to work at Stumpy’s, alongside her guardians, while she was in high school. Although she dealt with a ton of loss, she continued to keep a glowing smile on her face. People around her boasted about her strength and her bravery.

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One day, Joy applied to a contest on Instagram through Dr. Grant Collins of Collins Orthodontics. The contest application was for a set of free braces. Going through so much at the time, Joy forgot that she even entered the contest. However, the universe aligned for Joy, and she was the winner.

Dr. Collins knew that Joy was a special person—so he wanted to make sure that she got her prize in a special way. The orthodontist states that she went through so much and still kept such a positive attitude, he wanted to make it really nice for her.

An Incredible Tip

Pat and Judy invited Dr. Collins and his family to come to eat at their restaurant on a day when Joy didn’t even want to go to work. That day happened to be the date of her late mother’s birthday. Joy was thinking about calling out, but Judy had a better idea.

Dr. Collins and his family requested to sit at Joy’s table and have her be their server. Joy had no idea that she was about to get the biggest surprise of her life. When it came time to pay, Dr. Collins left a gracious tip—one Joy would never forget. On the tip line, the orthodontist signed for $6,000—or a set of new, free braces.

The smile that came across Joy’s face that day was infectious, as both Dr. Collins and his family enjoyed their meal and also the ability to make a really hard day much more special for her. It just goes to show you that sometimes in life, the most deserving people get a chance to truly win.


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