Ex-Con Turned Businessman Gives Back by Paying for Meals of Entire Restaurant and Gives $1,500 Tip


A viral story about a very generous man is making it’s rounds online, and in a rather bittersweet twist the story that began with an act of kindness ended with a rather heartbreaking revelation.

Scroll down for video


In a Denny’s branch in Utah, the story began when a stranger came in and requested that the hostess have him seated in an area where a certain server named Crystal was assigned in. Crystal also happened to be a single mother who lives with her son in a shelter.

Despite the request to be a bit odd, the hostess still had him seated in the area where Crystal was manning.


The man ate a meal that amounted to a mere $21.34. He also continued to sit and observe restaurant goers while paying for all their meals despite them being total strangers to him. In the end, he gave Crystal a $1,500 tip to match.

The Good Samaritan was later identified to be named Briggs VanNess and despite his hardened past, he still chooses to be kind to others.

VanNess was tracked by Fox 5 DC and they discovered the reason on why he acted so warmly towards the families eating in the diner and to Crystal. Surprisingly, his act of kindness had stemmed from heartbreak.

“I grew up with a single mother of six– we were poor and homeless a lot. I’d spend many nights at my mother’s friends’ houses. My mother was dying from cancer, but somehow managed to survive,” he shared. “But I watched and suffered for years as I watched her work her hands to the bone to give us a good life. She raised us to be kind and help others. Many years down the road I was facing prison and getting in trouble and it ended up causing me to lose my family because I was a really terrible person.”

VanNess endured all those countless hardships, but did let it make him lose his own sense of humanity. The money he had given Crystal allowed her to leave the shelter and seek a better home for herself and her son.

“Now I’ve been helping others as I was raised to do, I spent many years becoming a better person. And now it’s time to pay it back. I’m a successful business owner and I help as many as I feel that need it,” he said in an interview with Fox 5.


VanNess’s story became viral after his story was shared in the Facebook page Love What Matters. This was what was written on the last part of the post:

“You left before any of us could say thank you, I hope you read this because you’re truly an amazing person and you stole the hearts of every one of us here. Thank you.”

Watch the video below

Read more heartwarming acts of kindness below

Target Employee’s Act of Kindness Will Inspire You to Help Someone Too

See How Kindness of Strangers Saved This Homeless Father and Son