On the Monday following President Donald Trump's inauguration, Jason White, a dentist in West Texas, dined at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
After a meal with two friends, Harris left his waitress, Rosalynd Harris, a 25-year-old African-American woman, a kind note and an enormous tip — more than 600% of the bill, the Washington Post reported.
White's note reads:
"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. Not race. Not gender. Just American. God bless!"
There's more to the story, of course. Before the start of the meal, White told one of his friends to consider removing his red "Make America Great Again" hat, sensing it could be regarded out of place in the scene, the Post reported. (The friend did remove his cap.)
Busboys and Poets, its name a nod to black American poet Langston Hughes, describes itself as "a restaurant, bar, bookstore, events space and cultural hub where art, politics and culture intentionally collide." It's possible the mood in the hub felt extra democratic; Harris told the Post she was still feeling energetic from the weekend's Women's March.
Despite their palpable political differences, the Post reported Harris and White shared a "jovial and fun" experience. Their exchanges led White to leave the waitress a kind note and an enormous tip.
The $450 tip was a symbol to the 45th president, Trump, White told the Post. Harris, who admitted to typecasting White and his crew as Trump supporters, said she was touched by the words and described the extra money as "a weight off my shoulders." And of her pre-conceived notions, she told the Post, "You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you, but [the customer was] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange."
White's generosity has even impacted Harris' perspective. "Republican, Democrat, liberal are all subcategories to what we are experiencing," she said to the Post. "It instills a lot of hope." As showed in the tweet above, the restaurant posted a photo of the receipt, deeming it "a lovely act of kindness."
Many readers responded positively to White's gesture.
Getting wind of the story, several people shared on social media how the act touched them; one person tweeted "America needs more of this."
Others evaluated the gesture with more skepticism.
When the Root shared the story on its Facebook page, the post received a mass of mostly critical comments, many echoing the sentiment that the act was patronizing, an attempt to buy away feelings of guilt or hardly enough to make up for Trump's damages.
Can any amount of money or kindness restore hope in U.S. citizens who feel marginalized by Trump's America?