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The heartwarming, complicated story of white men leaving a black server a $450 tip

There's a lot to unpack in this gesture.


Jessica Machado


Published Jan 25, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 3:22 am CDT

The Washington Post tells a tale of a white Trump supporter and his two friends going out to eat in D.C. during inauguration weekend and accidentally wandering into a social justice restaurant and bookstore. Their server, a black woman named Rosalynd Harris, says she pre-judged the West Texans as Trump supporters by their appearance, but she was still high off the women’s march and also a professional, so she did her job and everyone was friendly and chatty.

At the end of the meal, one of the men left her a note: “We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people,” Jason White wrote. “Not race. Not gender. Just American. God Bless!”

They also tipped her $450. (Trump is the 45th president.)

In the Post article, White says he was a Trump supporter from the beginning but thought the juxtaposition of both the inauguration and the women’s march “represented the very foundation of what it means to be an American.”

As many online point out, White was surely being sincere and wanted to be extra kind given the current political environment. And Harris, for her part, says she was very grateful and could use the windfall. 

However, there are few off-putting things people have noted about White’s gesture. 

First, there is the notion that he’s trying to alleviate his white guilt. That his act of kindness was about making himself feel good, not her.


Then there is the idea that her value still lies in being a lovely, agreeable woman. Would a black male server have gotten a $450 tip or the acknowledgment of his beautiful smile? 


There’s also the argument that White is hypocritical for being cool with giving his money to this specific woman but then could vote for a man who wants to strip away the rights of millions of women.


So, keep tipping your servers well, everyone. But maybe skip the well-intentioned-but-misguided sermon next time. 

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2017, 7:12 pm CST