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Bartender stunned after anonymous guest leaves $4,000 tip: 'I didn’t believe it'

Chelsea Bell Lantrip, a bartender and single mother in Cleburne, Texas, called the patron a guardian angel.

One bartender in Texas was left in shock when a stranger left her a generous tip of $4,000.

Chelsea Lantrip, who goes by Chelsea Bell at the bar, was working her regular shift on a Tuesday at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas. She told NBCDFW, an NBC affiliate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, that “two random girls” who she had not seen at the bar before came in among the crowd of regulars. One of the women ordered a round of drinks for everyone at the dance hall.

Chelsea Lantrip Bell, a bartender at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas.
Chelsea Lantrip Bell, a bartender at Chances Dance Hall in Cleburne, Texas.KXAS

Bell said that their bill only came to $179.50. However, the woman who offered to buy drinks for the entire bar left a much bigger tip than the usual 20%: She tipped Bell $1,000, and didn't stop there.

“I started crying and [and then she said] ‘No, that’s not good enough,’ and raised it to $2,000,” Bell recalled.

By the time that Bell ultimately picked up the receipt, the woman had increased the tip to $4,000.

“I didn’t believe it until it went through the credit card machine, I still didn’t believe it until it hit the bank,” Bell said. 

The receipt from the anonymous patron.
The receipt from the anonymous patron. KXAS

Carmen Senese, the owner of Chances Dance Hall, explained to the outlet why this generous tip was so crucial for Bell.

The bartender is a single mother who said that she lives "paycheck to paycheck, tip to tip" without much extra money to spare. Her son will be heading off to Texas A&M University in the fall and while he has a scholarship and a grant to attend the college, it’s not quite enough to cover the full cost of tuition, Senese said.

Bell said that she’s “so proud” of her “brilliant” son, adding, “It hurts when you can’t help your kid [but] now I can just a little bit.”

Chelsea Lantrip with her son, who is set to attend college at Texas A&M in the fall.
Chelsea Lantrip with her son, who is set to attend college at Texas A&M in the fall.Chelsea Bell Lantrip / KXAS

In addition to helping her son pay for his education, Bell said that she plans to take her family out to a nice dinner and use the money to pay some bills. She expressed how grateful she was the good Samaritan who shared her good fortune with her during what would have been a regular Tuesday shift.

“She is a gift from God,” Lantrip said. “I believe in guardian angels, I believe in people coming into your life at the right time that you need them. And she was definitely one of them.”

The bar itself was also grateful for the generous tip, writing in a Facebook post on July 8, "Thank you to the angel that walked into our bar and gifted Chelsea Bell more than she could’ve ever imagined."

As for the story behind the generous patron, all Senese knew about them was that the woman who gave the tip received an inheritance recently and felt compelled to “tithe it to a stranger.”

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