WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – The night before a Niles man and his fiancée left for Virginia Beach, they heard about a challenge on the Venmo mobile payment app. People were being asked to donate money and surprise someone in a service job with a big tip, so the local couple decided to do a challenge of their own.
“So we’re going to Virginia Beach for vacation this week and we want to surprise a food service worker with a huge tip,” Dan Pew pitched July 5 to anyone who would donate.
Tuesday was his first day back from vacation.
“It’s about spreading some love, and some positivity and seeing some smiles out there in the world,” he said.
When they arrived in Virginia Beach, they ate at several different restaurants. They had collected a total of $650 from 35 people, with the biggest donation being $55.
“We said Friday afternoon, wherever we’re going to go for lunch, that’s the one we’re going to pick,” Pew said. “And the waitress just kind of worked out. She was just incredible.”
With his fiancée recording, Pew surprised Aubrey Seykerbuyk with the tip.
“The waitress was sweet. She was becoming a psych major. She talked about how the other restaurant closed down, so she was just picking up shifts. It just felt right,” he said.
Pew counted the cash right at the table — all in $20 bills, plus one $10 bill.
“Just by everything going on recently, and that little glimmer of kindness that I received yesterday was just enough to remind me that…there are still good people in this world and we need more of them,” Seykerbuyk said.
The waiters at the restaurant tip share, so five of them split the $650 — which was fine with Pew.
“We were down there at the beach. We went in there to get some smoothies and some coffee, and everybody was excited to see us and give us hugs, and it was just awesome to spread some love and positivity,” he said.
“They had the means and they decided to help, and that’s all that anybody can ask for right now,” Seykerbuyk said.
Pew called what he did the Venmo Challenge, but said Venmo had nothing to do with it. The idea came from an out-of-town social media friend of his, who did the same thing while vacationing in New Orleans.