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Mill Creek Pub waitress gets big tip from generous patrons

For the past seven years, Candace Brown, a single mother and waitress at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground, has sorted tips at the restaurant’s server’s station. But when she approached a table Dec. 19, a much larger than normal gratuity awaited her — $1,500 in cash.

“Obviously, I was in shock,” Brown said.

The idea for the tip started with a group of 18 friends, many of whom are also mothers, said Kelsey Chappelle of Hockinson. Kathryn Tilkin, also of Hockinson, had seen a Facebook post in which another server was given a similar tip. Tilkin shared the post, asking her friends if they would like to do something similar for someone in the Clark County community.

“I most definitely knew that I was in and wanted to participate,” Chappelle said. “We definitely wanted to see the most hardworking person rewarded, especially around the holidays.”

Chappelle contacted Russell Brent, owner of Mill Creek Pub where the group often meets. Brent suggested Brown, a single mother with a 17-year-old daughter, Grace.

“She has had to make it on her own and really is a wonderful person,” Brent said.

As she headed toward the server’s table, Brown became suspicious when she saw Brent with a camera in his hand. Nonetheless, she stepped toward the server’s station and noticed several $100 bills.

“What is this?” Brown said with a puzzled look to Brent.

Brown then read a Christmas card that said, “Keep the change,” along with a few other notes. She then returned to the dining area and, with tears in her eyes, hugged the patrons.

“I had fun serving them, and they were a wonderful group of ladies,” Brown said. “I was very grateful.”

Brent handed the diners $25 gift cards to the pub, asking them to pay it forward. The pub owner said in the 40 years he’s worked in the restaurant business, larger tips typically top out at $50 or $100.

“I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” Brent said. “It just blows me away.”

Brown split much of the tip with her daughter, another teenage girl and another single mother, who were also waitressing that day. She also gave some to a single mother who lives near Mill Creek Pub.

“You think about yourself, and you think, ‘I don’t deserve something like that,’” Brown said.

As for her own share of the tip?

“It’s going straight into my savings account for a while,” Brown said.


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