Social media challenge brings surprise to North Country servers

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A social media challenge has made its way to New York’s North Country with a goal of surprising local servers with some big bucks. Our Kelly O’Brien was there for the surprise.

“The anticipation is really, it really makes me nervous,” said Michael Gines of Tipping North Country.

Emily Morrissey and Michael Gines are ready to grab some grub at China Cafe in the Champlain Centre.

The two are well-known at the Chinese food restaurant, and so is their love for crab rangoon. The Chan family behind the counter know their orders just like they do all their customers but what they didn’t know was what would unfold next.

“The most selfless people that I’ve seen in a long time. You guys have been more affected by this than a lot of other people,” Gines said.

See Gines and Morrissey were not just there for takeout; they were there to deliver $315 donated from people around the community.

“It was a rush of emotions. I haven’t had time to absorb it yet,” said Teddy Chan of China Cafe.

It’s a part of a Facebook community called Tipping North Country.

“More or less based around what’s called the Venmo Challenge. It’s a trend we have seen going on throughout the country,” Gines explained.

The goal is to collect money each week and surprise a service worker with it.

“It was mostly because of COVID and everything going on... it really caused some places to struggle,” Morrissey said.

The group started only two weeks ago and has already handed out nearly $1,000 to three different recipients.

“Every last cent will go to one of our future recipients,” Gines said.

The person, businesses and location are selected randomly and the videos of the encounters are posted online for those who made the donations to see.

“There are good people out there, there are good people in our community,” Gines said.

The group says this is something they will continue to do, supporting the local businesses and people in the community at a time when they need it most.

“I used to think it was just work and then it became something more, something greater,” Chan said. “My heart is full.”

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