Washington, D.C. - Monday a Lubbock dentist left a Washington, D.C. waitress a generous tip and a note about bridging differences. This gesture has since been shared around the world on social media.
Lubbock resident Jason White traveled to Washington, D.C. last week with five of his friends to attend Donald Trump's inauguration. White is the owner of Jason White Dentistry. As a small business owner, White has supported Trump's candidacy from the beginning as believes the country needs a business leader in the White House.
The trip to Washington, D.C. was overwhelming and transformative for White. He was honored to witness the inauguration proceedings.
"The patriotism, the love the respect, it's really about the American spirit that day, and you feel it," White explained.
White added that the inauguration weekend exposed him to people from every imaginable political persuasion.
"Being in West Texas, I generally love everyone," White said. "We have our differences, but you don't see the extreme fear when you're walking down the street, or you don't see the extreme hate from any side so this was just a new experience for me."
White also learned a lot from being in D.C. at the same time as the Women's March. He marveled at how American democracy allows for a celebration of a new president one day and then a peaceful demonstration in the exact same spot on the next day.
On his way out of Washington, D.C. Monday, his cab driver recommended the famed D.C. restaurant Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Street.
White said it was raining, so he and three of his friends dashed inside. One of his friends was wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat.
But after a few minutes in the restaurant, White realized from the decor, the books in the book store, and the causes featured on clothing of the patrons there, that the restaurant was more left-leaning than he was.
The Busboys and Poets restaurant describes their establishment on their website as, "a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted...a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul...a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide." For White, that day represented a collision of many things he'd experienced over the weekend as well as a deliberate pause think about what it all meant.
Feeling out of place as a Trump supporter at the restaurant, he told his friend to remove his " Make America Great Again" hat.
"I started looking at other people, and we started getting looks back," White said.
"This young, beautiful, African American waitress approached us with a smile," explained White who is Caucasian.
"I just asked her what do you like? What's your favorite thing on the menu? And she was like,'Avocado Panini,' I like avocado, so I want to get that. And she laughed," White recalled. "And I said [to the waitress], 'you have a really beautiful smile but I could tell she was really uncomfortable too, maybe after seeing the hat."
When White got the ticket for the meal, he decided to leave something extra for his waitress.
"I wanted her to know that I'm not the person she perceived me to be and I was hoping I could show her that I didn't want to perceive her in the way she might think I'm perceiving her," he explained.
"It's all about being Americans and doing our small part to make a difference," White continued. "And I think we're so blinded by what's going on in the world by the extremists on both sides that we fail to respect one another or love one another and that's what God wants us to do. So I just left her a little note and a message."
The note he left on the receipt read:
"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!"
After their $72 meal, White chose to tip the waitress $450.
"I looked at the tip and I thought, I do support Donald Trump, I'm not ashamed of that and I hope that the 45th President of the United States is successful in bringing us together," White said. "So that's where the $450 comes from, to honor our 45th president and to honor our future."
White paid the bill, said goodbye and left the restaurant. He said he'd almost forgotten about the tip when Tuesday night back in Lubbock he was scrolling through Twitter. He saw a post from the Busboys and Poets account showing his receipt and the caption, "We rise by lifting others. A lovely act of kindness."
White said he was stunned. He began to tear up recounting the whole experience.
From his dental office, his staff is surprised as well, fielding calls from national news outlets all wanting to hear the story.
White added that he hopes he is able to meet the waitress again, he is touched that his story of meeting her has moved so many people.
"None of us are more special than the other, we don't have the power to change policy, we don't have the power to write laws, we only have the power to treat one another with love and respect and people are looking for that story. And that's exactly what happened," he said wiping tears from his eyes. "It's just crazy that it's taken off like this."
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