WHITE CITY — An afternoon rush was interrupted with tearful gratitude Sunday at the Apple Peddler for 29-year-old restaurant server Tyson Healy.
After a series of setbacks, the Medford father's luck changed in an instant with a patron's $600 tip.
"It was Sunday, and we were very, very busy," Healy's manager and mother, Peggy Laurine, said.
Through the busy day, Healy said he kept a positive outlook and stayed diligent as he manned the cash register for a couple, who he said had been helped by another server.
"They saw how I was running around," Healy said. "They were like, 'Oh, you're working really hard.' "
Healy said he explained to the couple that he was saving his tips to fix his car as he kept to his task.
The next thing he knew, the couple was borrowing a pen and writing a check.
"It was an inspiration because I'd been working a lot," he said.
About a month-and-a-half ago, the young father with a second child on the way suffered a setback when the front right wheel bearing on his car started failing.
"The tire was about to break off," Healy said.
Healy had been saving up for the repairs, but the repair was beyond his means.
"I was doing everything I can to try to save up for it," Healy said. "I didn't have enough to fix it at all."
The couple presented a check with a note written on the back of their business card that read, "To Tyson because you deserve it."
The only thing they wanted in return was a thank-you card. The generous tippers wished to remain anonymous, but the presentation was emotional.
"I started, like bawling," Healy said. "I gave them a hug and I couldn't thank them enough."
"He went and got his car out," Laurine said. "And he got to get the air conditioning fixed. "It was a prayer answered."
"That was my transportation for my kids, how to get to work, basically the family car," Healy said.
Healy said he's worked at the Apple Peddler for more than three years, and Laurine said he works six days a week to support his family.
"He's got one little girl and another one on the way," she said. "(They're) Just a young family trying to do the best they can."
Healy was moved by the donors' generosity.
"These wonderful people came out of nowhere and basically saved my life," he said. "I hope to return the favor to someone for what they've done for me."
Reach newsroom assistant Nick Morgan at email@example.com.